Smartphone technology is here to help us and in my second app review I have had a look at Medicinelist+, an app created by the Australian National Prescribing Service. What makes this app unique is that it only has medicines available here in Australia, which means you won’t get confused with American trade names or products!
First feature of note is the profiles. Though I am only using this app for myself and have little need for a profile, I could see this being useful for parents or carers who use it for both themselves and dependents.
The main feature of the app is the medicine list and reminders
You can scan medicine barcodes or search the database instead of adding them manually as some medicines may not be listed. Tutorials run you through this and are really easy to follow. I tried scanning a few different medicines with varying degrees of success. If your medicine is in the database, you can access the consumer medicine information [CMI] with information about your medicine. On a phone screen, the CMI is much easier to read than the printed paper leaflet that comes in the box.
Every day I take a vitamin supplement. It wasn’t listed so I had to enter it manually. You do not have to enter all of the information, but you will need to enter at least the name, dose and frequency of each medicine. The lists are easy to read, but when so many options are listed it might have been easier to just type it in.
You can schedule reminders for individual medicines with the flick of an onscreen switch
Having the ability to control reminders for each medicine was useful and well considered. There are some medicines that I would find easy to remember to take such as antibiotics for an acute infection, but things that I get used to taking I forget easily— which is probably a good sign that running out of the house trying to eat breakfast, pat the cats and tie up my shoe at the same time is not particularly mindful!
It isn’t just about taking medicines either
In the prescriptions section you can link in with your preferred pharmacy. Due to patient privacy concerns this does involve talking to your pharmacist in person and linking your details to the app. It might be too much effort for some, but people with many ongoing prescriptions can keep up-to-date with and track all of their medicines.
Rounding out the main features of the app is a section on general health (where you can store data on allergies, health conditions, measurements, test results and health professionals you see) and also notes. At first I wasn’t sure I needed another note taking feature on my phone, but when I opened up the feature I was pleasantly surprised. It is integrated with the General Health feature and designed to add health related notes and questions that you want to ask your different health care professionals.
Overall the app is well rounded, has some relevant features and is easy to use. Unfortunately, some medicines and supplements are not in the database. This means that users have to add them manually and the CMI is not available; users may miss out on important information about medicines they are taking.
The other downside that depending on how technology savvy the user is will depend on how much they will get out of it. The people that could benefit the most out of the app (the elderly and people with low health knowledge) are those who may not be the most technologically skilled or have access to the app in the first place. These people might need some encouragement and support from family or additional education from health care providers.
The app is available for free on both iPhone via the iTunes store and for Android via the Google Play Store.