The Front Porch Center for Innovation & Wellbeing’s “Minding Our Meds” Project Results Show Improved Senior Medication Adherence With Cell Phone Text Reminders
Through a mobile health (mHealth) grant from the Center for Technology and Aging (CTA), the Front Porch Center teamed with CareSpeak Communications to pilot the CareSpeak mobile Health manager™ technology. Sprint Nextel provided free phones and discount voice and texting services for the pilot. The project featured customized texting services for medication alerts, diabetes and other chronic disease medication reminders, and medication tracking programs for seniors at Front Porch communities and neighboring senior centers. The published pilot results show improved medication adherence among active, independent older adults with access to a cell phone texting service. The project’s success offers a replicable and sustainable model for using an mHealth technology solution for medication adherence at Front Porch moving forward.
Of those who participated in the three- to five-month study:
- Sixty-six percent found that the CareSpeak system made it easier for them to keep track of their medications.
- Forty-eight percent either agreed or strongly agreed that their health issues were better controlled.
- Fifty-two percent either agreed or strongly agreed that they would use CareSpeak or a similar texting program in the future to remain on track with medication adherence.
- Many reported that CareSpeak helped them create a schedule or a habit of taking their medication that they would benefit from on an ongoing basis.
Mismanagement of medications represents $290 billion in health care costs annually through hospital readmissions, trips to the ER, disabilities or premature death. For older adults, unpleasant side effects, confusion, forgetfulness, or feeling “too good” to need medicine can keep them from compliance. Given that 91 percent of persons ages 57 to 85 take at least one medication weekly, it was important to find a widely available, affordable mHealth solution that could be tailored to meet seniors’ needs.
“The average older adult takes more than four prescription medications and two over-the-counter (OTC) drugs per day, with forgetfulness cited as the most common reason for not appropriately adhering to proper medication intake,” said Davis Park, director, Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing. “Good collaboration efforts with CareSpeak on the pilot helped older adults and their caregivers change behavior, keeping seniors healthy, independent and more connected to their support network.”
To improve medication adherence, the “Minding Our Meds” pilot deployed CareSpeak Communications’ mHealth platform, a two-way SMS-based medication reminder service that is available on virtually any smartphone or cell phone with a texting plan, and conducted pre- and post-intervention surveys to collect data to track medication adherence, user satisfaction with the technology, and overall health and wellbeing. The pilot team also developed a replicable model that combined education, training and web-based resources with lessons and techniques to improve medication adherence. One Economy Digital Connectors provided training as part of its community service projects to teach older adults how to set up and access CareSpeak accounts through its web-based dashboard.
The “Minding Our Meds” pilot provided valuable insight into the dynamics between seniors and their caregivers for both the Front Porch Center and CareSpeak Communications. Results show seniors are comfortable with texting, and those using the CareSpeak technology have a higher level of medication adherence compliance. Mobile alerts and monitoring not only helped participants remember to take their medications, it also helped their caregivers (whether on-site at a Front Porch community or a relative living far away) become more mindful of helping residents take their medications.
“It was very important for our team to have the ability to partner with someone who understands the senior population, their needs and the needs of their caregivers,” said Srdjan “Serge” Loncar, founding president and CEO, CareSpeak Communications. “Front Porch was uniquely positioned to provide us with that opportunity and to facilitate the conversation with the end users. Front Porch’s team was a very diligent partner in this process, providing valuable insights, which we have already incorporated into our offerings.”
“The successful partnership with CareSpeak Communications allowed us to adapt the use of everyday mobile technologies such as text message reminders to support the medication management needs of active, on-the-go seniors,” Park added. “This is what the Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing is all about – finding ways to creatively apply technology as a tool to help older adults live life their way.”
The Front Porch Center worked with Dr. Brooke Hollister, an assistant professor at the University of California, San Francisco’s Institute for Health and Aging, to develop the evaluation plan that measured the outcomes of the project.
The Center for Technology and Aging provided the grant for the Minding our Meds pilot. Based in Oakland, Calif., the CTA (techandaging.org) is the national resource for expertise in the use of patient-centered technologies for older adults. CTA supports the adoption and diffusion of technology-enabled care that is patient-centered, coordinated, efficient and effective. CTA is focused on four areas of opportunity that can transform lives: medication optimization, remote patient monitoring, care transitions and mobile health. Established with funding from The SCAN Foundation (thescanfoundation.org), CTA is affiliated with the Public Health Institute (phi.org).
About the Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing
The Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing is part of Front Porch, one of Southern California’s largest not-for-profit providers of retirement living communities and affordable housing. The Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing strives to harness technology solutions that support and enhance wellbeing in older adults. The Front Porch Center’s core initiatives focus on how technology can: assist in maintaining brain health; enhance social connectedness; promote engagement and growth; empower control over health and wellness; prevent emergencies or serious events; and increase resources and support for formal and informal caregivers. More information is available at www.fpctiw.org.
About Front Porch
Front Porch is a not-for-profit support system for a family of companies that serve individuals and families through full-service retirement, active adult communities, affordable housing communities through CARING Housing Ministries and related management and development services. Front Porch active adult and full-service retirement communities offer a full range of options from independent living to continuing care, including memory support. Specialized programs like the Front Porch Center for Technology Innovation and Wellbeing, Front Porch Gallery and affiliated Centers for Spirituality and Aging support the Front Porch belief in understanding and meeting needs so that residents can live life their way. With innovative communities and programs that meet the changing needs of people as they age, Front Porch represents a leading-edge approach to wellness in aging. Front Porch is comprised of 10 full-service retirement communities in California and three adult living communities: one in Louisiana, one in Florida and one in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. Front Porch also serves individuals and families through more than 20 affordable housing communities managed by Front Porch’s affiliate, CARING Housing Ministries. Front Porch, based in Burbank, Calif. and founded in 1999, is a not-for-profit organization that gives back to its residents and the communities it serves. More information is available at www.frontporch.net.
About CareSpeak Communications
CareSpeak Communications provides mobile communications technology solutions to patients, their family and friends caregivers and health care professionals for better patient engagement and medical therapy compliance, resulting in improved outcomes. The company offers its services to clinical organizations, insurers, payers, benefit managers and the pharmaceutical industry. CareSpeak Communications is a privately held company, headquartered in New Jersey. Visit www.carespeak.com for more information.