According to a recent article published by Huffington Post, patient adherence to prescribed medication is notoriously poor, with approximately 50% of prescribed medications being taken incorrectly or irresponsibly. In South Africa, it is common knowledge that patient adherence to medication is a massive problem, with millions of patients succumbing to their illnesses annually.
Here are a few statistics on some of the prevalent illnesses in SA:
- It is estimated that there are 130 heart attacks and 240 strokes in South Africa per day, with hypertension being a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.
- A recent study conducted across sub-Saharan Africa indicates that 40% of patients living with HIV/AIDS either stopped their life-saving Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) or discontinued their regular follow-up consultations.
- And according to a recent study, depression costs South Africa more than R232 billion, which is 5.7% of the country’s GDP.
These are but a fraction of the health challenges that South Africa is facing and while these statistics may seem scary, there is a simple but effective solution.
With the continuous increase in technology and the advent of many health-related apps for mobile smartphones, there has been a marked increase in awareness of the importance of medication adherence. Keeping track of when and how medication is taken not only helps patients prevent further illness-related complications, feel better, and improve their overall health and lifestyle, but also allows doctors to work closely with their patients to ensure that they get the best out of their treatments plans.
One of the latest medication reminder apps on the market is MyTherapy – an innovative product of digital health technology company smartpatient based in Munich, Germany. As a result of working closely with healthcare professionals and patients, MyTherapy is both a patient- and doctor-centered app that uses the latest mobile-phone technology to help users adhere to their medication schedules and monitor their health in numerous ways.
Users are encouraged to track their measurements (for example blood pressure, blood sugar, glucose levels, and weight), log important data related to their illness, and set important health goals. Uploading the medication is simple (either manually or searching in the search bar) and users are reminded to take their medication until they click the ‘confirm’ button. Furthermore, users are sent a monthly review of their entered-information in the form of easy-to-read graphs that can be used for doctor’s visits. The app is user-friendly and family members can even get on board for additional support. Additionally, users can set activities for the day – such as running, cycling, a gym workout – which helps them improve on and maintain healthy and active lifestyles. MyTherapy is available on both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store and is completely free – there are no hidden costs, in-app purchases, or pesky adverts.
Ultimately, MyTherapy works on all levels: individually, socially, and nationally. Although a seemingly simple tool to utilise, the app has the potential to save lives, prevent illnesses, and save South Africa’s economy billions of rands.
Medication adherence is crucial for advancements in healthcare, especially within a South African context. Many treatment regimens for conditions like HIV, hypertension, diabetes, and depression require strict adherence to a doctor’s instructions in order to prevent worsening symptoms, relapses, and drug-resistance. MyTherapy is for anyone taking any form of medication for any period of time. Additionally, the app can simply be used to promote a healthy lifestyle – users don’t necessarily need to take medication to use the app.
Medication cannot help if it’s not taken correctly, and MyTherapy can help change that.