Award-winning DrugStars app enables Danish patients to:
- Win 1 `star’ each time they take their prescribed medication correctly
- Convert their `stars’ into a cash donation to a patient association
- Increase their donation by reviewing their medications.
Patient associations: Innovative rewards for compliance
Whatever term you prefer – medication compliance, adherence or concordance, the inconvenient truth is that patients often remain not compliant. However a rewards app from Denmark has turned compliance on it’s head, in an industry which is overwhelmed with compliance apps for such specific treatments.
So what if patient organisations could gain every time a patient took their medication properly?
The developers of the DrugStars app say that they have attracted nearly 20,000 users in their early months and patient organisations are already benefitting from cash donations. More importantly, the app is driving patients to show that they are complying. Every time they take a dose, a ‘star’ is issued as a reward.
Data-rich activities, such as patients reviewing their medications, are rewarded with 50 stars, these stars are regularly converted into cash for recognised Danish patient organisations. A couple of these include Diabetesforeningen (the Danish Diabetes Association) and Parkinsonforeningen (Danish Parkinson’s Association).
Mutually beneficial business model?
“Data from reviews (patient experiences with products) is used for scientific research and may also be sold on commercial terms to healthcare companies. This data is always used in an aggregated form and is always anonymous.”
From a patient group perspective, there’s not only the potential donations, but free membership. This includes a profile page in the app. They can also attract new members and donations. Early patient organisations involved in Denmark can see how this addresses a number of their goals:
“For people with diabetes it is important to take their medicine as agreed with the doctor. We are already working on that. Now that smart technology can be combined with the opportunity to donate money to our work on diabetes, it was obvious that we were to enter into an agreement with DrugStars.”
– Morton Jakobson, Communications Director, Diabetesforeningen (Diabetes Association, Denmark)
New trigger for patient compliance commitment?
Is this a simple way to drive health behaviour change? As I write, I’m aware of my hypocrisy. I, my wife, and my daughter are wildly variable in our asthma compliance. I’ve stupidly put myself in emergency care through my non-compliance. I’ve got all the technology in the world to help, and as with so many, compliance seems a vague aspiration.
Any kitchen and bathroom cupboard can demonstrate that Medicine Use Reviews and prescribing patterns only really track what has gone from the pharmacy but not what has really been used. Critically, how it has been used. Just like my food diary, my sleeping Wii fit, I’m happy for my asthma compliance to be theoretical when it’s in data form.
But when I look my asthma nurse in the eye, I tell the truth about my compliance. Would helping a patient organisation by taking my asthma meds give me an extra nudge to be compliant? I’ll find out when the DrugStars app comes to the UK.
Read the review of the DrugStars app on myhealthappsnet…
Find out more about the DrugStar app…