Don't Forget Your Pill! Designing Effective Medication Reminder Apps That Support Users' Daily Routines

in CHI2014, Conference paper (text), Toronto, Canada


Despite the fact that a third of all cases of unintentional medication non-adherence are caused by simple forgetfulness, the majority of interventions neglect this issue. Even though patients have access to smartphone applications ("apps") designed to help them remember medication, neither their quality nor effectiveness has been evaluated yet. We report the findings of a functionality review of 229 medication reminder apps and a thematic analysis of their 1,012 user reviews. Our research highlights the gap be- tween the theory and practice: while the literature shows that many medication regimens are habitual in nature and the presence of daily routines supports remembering, existing apps rely on timer-based reminders. To address this disparity, we present design requirements for building medication reminders that support the routine aspect of medication-taking and its individual nature, and demonstrate how they could be implemented to move from passive alerts to a smarter memory and routine assistant.