What you don’t know about your meds can kill you

Wednesday October 10th, 2018
Research
What you don’t know about your meds can kill you

By Omri Shor

It’s the day after launch of Health Records integrations on Medisafe. While it’s an exciting milestone for the company, being the first company to be truly interoperable with Health Records on iPhone, I want to give center stage to another integration which saves peoples’ lives, every day.

Let me share a quick story from a Medisafer (Medisafe user) that we got a few months back and really blew us away:

“I started using Medisafe a week into starting a new medication. After inputting all my meds, the app alerted me to the fact that there was a major interaction between a medication I’ve been on for four years and the new medication. When the two are paired, it raises your heart rate. My normal heart rate is between 75-90bpm and I had noticed that my heart rate had been hanging around at 130-140bpm for the past few days. I had just brushed it off but the app made me realize that it was actually due to the two medications interacting. I called my Dr and he said that I’m lucky I caught it and had been resting for those few days…..”.

We at Medisafe were fortunate to be by his side at that moment.

Since launching the Drug to Drug Interactions (or DDI) feature about a year age, it has alerted Medisafers of nearly 100,000 interactions, more than 46,000 of which were major or severe and potentially life-threatening. And the feedback from people keeps pouring in: “I want to cry at how much it means to me,” wrote one woman, “Thankfully I have the Medisafe Team in my corner, thank you!” said another, and we read more and more stories from people who realized they stepped back from a possibly fatal brink. (Check out Nancy Kauffman and Jason telling about their near-misses with drug interactions).

DDI (Drug to Drug Interactions) is a growing health challenge in our society. Over a third (36%) of older adults in the U.S. regularly use 5 or more medications or supplements and 15% are potentially at risk for a major drug-drug interaction. Recent estimates indicate that DDIs cause nearly 74,000 emergency room visits and 195,000 hospitalizations each year in the USA*. With an average cost of ER visit of $1,917 it adds up to cost us a whopping $141,000,000 annually!

And it’s clear why – many of us have different healthcare providers – general practitioner, psychiatrist, dentist and others – who don’t sync with one another’s medication prescriptions (full 53% of Americans get their healthcare from multiple providers). Moreover, there is no one “owner” – doctor or pharmacist – responsible for preventing DDIs. In this situation, people have to take their health and safety into their own hands, and we’re helping them to do it.

Now with Medisafe’s integration with Health Records on iPhone, catching DDIs will be even easier and more seamless for iPhone and Apple Watch users. People who are registered with one of the growing number of healthcare providers supporting Health Records on iPhone can easily and accurately import their prescription list without manual entry, quickly enabling pill reminders, medication educational information and drug interactions identification. Imagine it – you’re sitting in the doctor’s office, they prescribe a med, and you get an alert in real time about a possible harmful interaction with another med you’re already taking. You can bring it up with your doctor right then and there and solve the issue before even leaving the doctor’s office!

Imagine what would happen if everyone who is on multiple medications prescribed by various providers used Medisafe, how great the impact would be, on people’s lives? On preventable medical interventions and hospitalizations? On healthcare budgets?

*source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2341468