New Year, New You: Tips for Medication Adherence

By Elena Fuhrmann, Account Coordinator at LCI
EF Blog Post2015 has arrived and if you’re like me, your to-do list may be miles long. Because the New Year can bring stress along with new beginnings, it’s easy to push certain routine items to the backburner. For example, it can be difficult to remember to take your medications on time as prescribed by your doctor.
However, medication adherence is a significant public health concern. According to research, about 10 percent of hospitalizations each year result from a lack of medication adherence [1].
Around 50 percent of patients with chronic illnesses do not take their medications as prescribed, which costs the healthcare industry billions of dollars each year [2]. In addition, studies have discovered that failures in medication adherence can worsen health conditions.
Do you know the most common reason people fail to take their medication as prescribed? They simply forget. While it can be easy to forget to take medications on time, there are simple steps you can implement to help you remember:
1)      Take medication at the same time every day. Think about your daily routine – do you thrive in the mornings? Are your afternoons relatively free? Are you a night owl? Set a time that works for you and make a point to take your medications around the same time each day. Unless your doctor advises you to take them at specific times, work with your schedule – rather than try to pack in a flurry of activities all at once – and you’ll feel more organized and in control.
2)      Keep medicine in the same location. If you store medications in more than one location in your home, it can be difficult to keep track of your regimen. As the adage goes, out of sight, out of mind. Store medications in an easily accessible area that you frequent regularly, such as your bedroom or bathroom.
3)      (client) Care4Today™ Mobile Health Manager is a free app designed to help people stay on track of their medication regimens. The app sends scheduled reminders using an easy-to-understand, color-coded system that prompts you when it’s time to take a pill. Care4Today aims to improve medical adherence by making it easy to remember and stay on schedule.  Studies show that text message reminders can significantly help maintain prescribed medication regimens [3]. The app can be especially helpful to those with chronic illnesses that require several complex medication regimens. Learn more about the app here.
4)      If you take more than one medication, consider using a pill box. If you have a complicated medication regimen, taking your pills as prescribed can be intimidating. If you have multiple daily medications, they can also be easily confused with one another. Consider buying several pillboxes to keep medications organized. Pillboxes are a low-cost yet effective way to keep pills separate from one another while simultaneously keeping them in one container, so you don’t have to dig for your pills or scramble between multiple bottles. In addition, you can use the Care4Today app to enhance the pillbox by sending an automatic reminder. There are, by the way, several inexpensive pillbox options on the market, such as these offerings from Ezy Dose and Friendshipstore.
5)      Ask a loved one or caregiver to remind you. With four in ten U.S. adults acting as caregivers for an adult or child with significant health issues [4], families are increasingly involved in their loved ones’ health regimens. Care4Family®, a feature of the Care4Today™ Mobile Health Manager app, is a good tool for people to monitor their loved one’s medication regimens. The feature makes it easier for caregivers to keep track of their loved ones’ schedules by providing a notification when someone misses a dose so they can easily stay in the loop. With these notifications, caregivers can then offer encouragement to their family members to stay on track with their medication schedules.
Although sticking to a medication regimen can prove difficult, implementing these simple changes to your routine can have a positive effect on medication adherence.
Questions or comments? Let us hear from you in a comment below or send an email to [email protected].
[1] Viswanathan M., et al. “Interventions to Improve Adherence to Self-Administered Medications for Chronic.
[2] World Health Organization, Adherence to Long-Term Therapies: Evidence for Action, 2003.
[3] Vervloet M., et al. “The Effectiveness of Interventions Using Electronic Reminders to Improve Adherence to Chronic Medication: A Systematic Review of the Literature.” Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association 19, no. 5 (2012): 696-704.
[4] Pew Internet & American Life Project: Family Caregivers are Wired for Health, 2013.

6 thoughts on “New Year, New You: Tips for Medication Adherence

  1. Elena – This is a great collection of tips. Medication adherence is important — I’m going to forward this on to a few family members. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Elena,
    I use the Care4Today app and find it very helpful for myself and tracking others’ keeping up with their medication routines.

  3. It’s crazy to think that many people end up at the hospital because they don’t take the dosage or medicine they’re prescribed to get better… it seems like the most simple way to take care of yourself. But, I realize after working with Care4Today, I’m guilty of skipping a dosage of my medicine once or twice a month myself. Thanks for the tips, Elena!

  4. Elena – great blog. When I was going through my health issues in 2014 I thought (being a college graduate) that I easily could stay on top of my medications. But here’s the thing: one’s health and one’s brain waves are compromised by taking the drugs (and the surgeries) and even the best laid plans can easily go awry. I found that Care4Today helped alot. Thanks for a terrific post. Cheers, David

  5. very insightful — especially since we all play the role of caregiver at some point! thanks elena.

  6. The new year is all about starting new routines! The app can definitely help keep people on track with their medications. Thanks for sharing.

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