MindSumo Healthcare Competition
October 9, 2012

Mind Sumo

Propose a solution that leverages technology and will increase the number of patients that regularly take their medication.

Root of Patient Non-compliance
As outlined by the Yale Medical Group, one of the primary reasons that people do not take their medications is because they "rely on their memory" which ultimately leads to the most people forgetting to take medications or taking medications at incorrect intervals. Therefore, patients are typically not willfully non-compliant and must be effectively reminded to take their medications.

Yet, simply reminding patients through email and text message will not be a sufficient nudge to make sure that patients take medications regularly and as directed. These messages will quickly be either forgotten entirely or lost among the hundreds of messages that most individuals receive. Therefore, to effectively remind patients to take their medications, an application must capture each patient’s attention.

In order to effectively remind patients to take their medication, I propose “The Pill Pad” a smart phone application.

The Pill Pad would function much like the lock feature currently on the iPhone (which requires that users insert a numerical passcode in order to access the phone). Yet, instead of requiring the user to type in a sequence of numbers to access their phone, the Pill Pad would display images of 9 different pills (some of which the patient needs to take each day and others which the patient does not been prescribed). In order to access their smart phone once the Pill Pad has automatically locked the device, the patient must correctly select the pills which they are required to take at that time of day.

For example, if the patient has been prescribed to take 500 mg of amoxicillin each morning for two weeks at 8 am, the Pill Pad will automatically lock the patient’s phone starting at 8 am. The Pill Pad will not unlock the patient’s to access the phone; until, the patient has correctly selected that he or she has taken their 500 mg amoxicillin pill. Once the two weeks of treatment have elapsed, the Pill Pad will stop locking the patient’s phone at 8 am since the amoxicillin treatment course has been discontinued.

This solution enhances the efficacy of the reminder through several means. First, the reminder is more effective since by preventing the patient from accessing his or her smart phone, the Pill Paid will certainly seize the attention of the patient. Second by providing the patient with a visual image of the pill, the pill paid provides a stronger, visual stimulus which is more likely to be remembered and acted upon by the patient. Furthermore, by using a visual cue, any problems with literacy, different languages, and trouble deciphering complex names (present on many prescription medications) can be eliminated. Therefore, regardless of the patients’ language and level of education, the Pill Pad provides an effective reminder which forces patients to recall the medications which they must take when the medications must be taken.

• The Pill Pad app will be marketed and sold healthcare insurance companies like Aetna. These insurers have an economic incentive to ensure that their customers remain healthy. Once the insurance companies purchase the Pill Pad, the company can provide its customers with a small discount if the individuals install the Pill Pad on their smart phones.

• When the patient is prescribed a new drug by a doctor, the customer will give their smartphone to their doctor. In addition to filling out the script for the medication, the doctor will quickly update the patient’s Pill Pad application, using a healthcare provider password. The doctor will input what medication he or she is prescribing to the patient, at what times the medication must be taken, and how long the patient’s treatment course will last.

• Therefore, simply after going to his or her doctor, the patient will be automatically reminded by the Pill Pad to take their medication. The patient will not be required to insert any additional information by the application, instead the application will simply launch automatically until the end of the patient’s treatment course.

In order to be economically competitive, America must reduce its enormous healthcare costs. One way to eliminate healthcare costs is to improve the efficiency of pre-existing treatment regimens. The Pill Pad application provides one solution to simultaneously enhance the effectiveness of treatments and eliminate the cost of US healthcare. By locking the patient’s phone and preventing the patient from placing calls and sending text messages, the Pill Pad will capture each patient’s attention. By instructing the patient to select the image of the pills which he or she must take, the Pill Pad can ensure that each patient understands the medication reminder and knows which prescriptions they should take at each treatment interval.

By using insurance companies and doctors to distribute and to update the Pill Pad, the application will not rely on consumers to adopt and update the software simply to improve their health. Instead, insurance companies will provide economic incentives so that consumers to adopt the device (since it is in the long term interest of insurance companies). Furthermore, doctors will update the Pill Pad software to make sure that patients comply with their treatment course. Therefore, through a combination of well-designed software and skillful implementation, the Pill Pad will significantly reduce patient non-compliance which will result in a healthier and richer nation.