Medication Logs and Digital Health
Electronic medication logs can help professionals and patients track medication compliance and drug effectiveness accurately, in real time, 24/7. What’s more, digital solutions meet the demands of today’s telehealth practices and global policies.
Medication Log: The Importance of Medication and Compliance
Medications and interventions can save lives. Medication noncompliance, however, is a global epidemic which can be fatal, especially in chronic conditions. In fact, data shows that the average compliance rate for subjects with a chronic condition is around 50% within the first year, which declines over time. In addition, millions of patients do not fill their medication or do not take drugs as prescribed, and many more take only half their prescribed doses.
Medication noncompliance can lead to numerous problems. Note that medication compliance or adherence is the extent to which a patient adheres to a self-administered protocol, specified by a healthcare provider. Failure to meet the medication-intake regime can be fatal (Aldeer et al., 2018). To be more precise, statistics reveal that more than 10% of hospital admissions are linked to medication noncompliance. Only in the US, medication costs exceed $76.6 billion a year due to hospital readmissions and health complications. Note that the elderly who usually receive 30% of prescriptions and buy 40% of over-the-counter meds need additional support in managing medications. A survey showed that 80% of the geriatric population in the US got at least one prescription medication, with half of this population taking three (or more) prescription drugs.
Consequently, understanding the causes of noncompliance can help experts as well as patients. In fact, medication adherence monitoring can help patients follow their health plan, improve their social support, and increase their feelings of control over their condition.Use Medication Logs in your Study
Medication logs are vital in practice. They can help patients enter important medical information, including:
- Name of medication
- Purpose and aims
- Basic characteristics (e.g., size, shape, color)
- Day of the week
- Date started
- Date stopped
- Time period (duration)
- Name of prescribing doctor
- Route of administration (e.g., orally)
- Special instructions
- With or without food
- Strength of each tablet taken
- Targeted behavior
- Side effects
Nevertheless, having an accurate medication log may be challenging. Interestingly, a study conducted by Badawy and colleagues concluded that the main barriers to medication adherence (hydroxyurea nonadherence, in particular) were: forgetfulness, fear of side effects, incorrect dosing, lack of communication with the medical team, lack of patient engagement in decision making, stress, limited time, inadequate support, and difficulty obtaining refills (Badawy et al., 2017). Such findings prove that medication compliance is a complex phenomenon.
Integrating digital solutions can improve medication compliance rates. Digital medication logs can be beneficial, especially in adolescents and young adults with chronic conditions. In fact, recent studies have shown that smartphone- and computer-based methods can increase hydroxyurea adherence to 93.3% (Creary et al., 2014). Since many young people own a smartphone, a laptop or a tablet – daily reminders and app updates can support medication compliance. Digital solutions can benefit the elderly as well. Vital features of online methods include engaging alarm reminders, complete logs of past dosages, accurate health information, clear schedules, and appealing visuals. Digital medication logs eliminate the need for paper copies and improve readability.Medication logs can help experts understand the patient journey. Logs can include medication compliance, special events, wound care, and team visits. They can benefit patient behavior, and health outcomes as data can be used to reduce adverse effects and fatal outcomes. Also, logs can help experts access vital information before interventions and during monitoring.
Note that apart from self-reported data and medication logs, there are medication administration records which contain vital information about drugs administered at a healthcare facility, including the patient’s names, treating team, diagnosis, drug name, day by day charts, etc. Since understanding medication use behavior is vital, effective coding and interpretation of information (charts, logs, home-based surveys, and self-reports) are required (Qato et al., 2009).
What’s more, medication logs can be used to reduce medication errors. Note that a medication error is defined as a treatment that can harm the patient. Such errors are associated with: prescribing faults (e.g., overprescribing), prescription errors when writing the prescription, wrong administering (e.g., wrong frequency), as well as wrong therapy monitoring (Aronson, 2009). Medication logs can be beneficial to pharmacists as well: information can be utilized to track medications, packaging, and prescription inventory.By creating an accurate medication log, sophisticated platforms like Qolty can help you:
- Facilitate research and improve healthcare practices
- Increase medication compliance
- Improve patient outcomes
- Foster information exchange
- Reduce medication errors
- Benefit coding of medications and treatments
Medication logs are ideal to help patients enter information about their drug intake and track behavioral changes. Such information can improve medication compliance and reduce medication errors. E-medication logs, in particular, are easy to use and customize and are valuable reminders utilized to increase medication adherence. Thus, digital solutions, such as Qolty, connect providers and patients and provide access to vital information at all times. Transparent and accurate information can only benefit optimal medical services, which makes medication logs an inseparable part of research and practice.Aldeer, M., Javanmard, M., & Martin, R. (2018). A Review of Medication Adherence Monitoring
Technologies. In the IEEE 8th Annual Ubiquitous Computing, Electronics and Mobile Communication Conference (UEMCON).
Aldeer, M., & Martin, R. (2018). Medication adherence monitoring using modern technology. In 2017 IEEE 8th Annual Ubiquitous Computing, Electronics and Mobile Communication Conference (UEMCON) 2017 (Vol. 2018 – January, p. 491-497). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1109/UEMCON.2017.8249101
Aronson, J. (2009). Medication errors: definitions and classification. British journal of clinical pharmacology, 67 (6).
Badawy, S., Thompson, A., Penedo, F., Lai, J., Rychlik, K., & Liem, R. (2017). Barriers to hydroxyurea adherence and health-related quality of life in adolescents and young adults with sickle cell disease. European journal of haematology, 98 (6).
Creary, S., Gladwin, M., Byrne, M., Hildesheim, M., & Krishnamurti, L. (2014). A pilot study of electronic directly observed therapy to improve hydroxyurea adherence in pediatric patients with sickle-cell disease. Pediatric blood and cancer, 61 (6).
Qato, D., Schuman, L., Johnson, M., Mihai, A., & Lindau, S. (2009). Medication data collection and coding in a home-based survey of older adults. The journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences.