After being diagnosed with a serious disease or illness, your entire life changes in the blink of an eye. Suddenly, in addition to having to come to terms with your ailment from a psychological and physical basis—and making the appropriate lifestyle changes to better care for yourself—you still have the daunting task of staying on top of your prescription drug regimen.

With more than 4 billion prescriptions filled in the United States last year, it’s perhaps not all that  shocking to learn that some individuals need to stay on top of 20 or more different prescriptions at once.

As healthcare providers continue to write prescriptions for their patients they need to keep in mind what happens after the page from their blue pad is handed over to the patient. In a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, journalist Lisa Zamosky examined the difficulty patients have keeping up with their prescriptions. The statistics she unearthed during her investigation were chilling.

About 50 percent of patients with a chronic disease stop taking medications intended to stave off big health problems, her article found, because they forget how many of each pill they have to take, can’t figure out how to schedule them or simply can’t afford to continue their refills. And this prescription management issue isn’t just affecting consumers on a personal level; this is hurting the U.S. economy as a whole. Specifically, patients,who stray from their prescription regimen for any number of reasons end up costing the U.S. nearly $290 billion in unaccounted healthcare expense.

Healthcare providers searching for a solution to this problem will find relief beyond the little blue prescription pad. While it may be near impossible for a doctor to constantly check in with patients on prescription medication, they could monitor their patients through a mobile application.

Mobile application development, particularly in the field of healthcare, is starting to take off and there is much that can be done with an application intended specifically for patients’ prescription drugs:

  • Healthcare providers can develop a mobile application  to help remind their patients when each pill should be taken and what each pill looks like.
  • A mobile app could keep inventory on the number of prescriptions an individual is tasked with taking on a daily basis. This could assure the drugs don’t get in the wrong hands and that patients aren’t filling their prescriptions too often.
  • With the advent of wearables, an app could be developed to work hand and hand with (let’s say) a smartwatch or fitness band with a heart rate monitor, giving doctors real-time insight into how drugs are affecting their patients.
  • A primary function of a prescription  app would be to remind patients to take their prescriptions and data collected from app use could be aggregated and used in studies concern this very real problem.
  • Patients have problems or bad reactions to their medication can document it within the app and even schedule appointments with their healthcare provider without having to take any extra steps.
  • Doctors could use an administrative version of the application to get a glimpse of their patients, their prescriptions and whether they’ve been taking them. This would allow them to not only gain competitive insights, but also alert them when certain patients need more attention than others.

The possibilities for mobile application development in this field are endless and the payoff for healthcare providers is considerable. As medicine continues to advance, leaders in the industry need to keep the patient’s life outside of their offices in mind. As a first step, healthcare providers need to start vetting a list of potential mobile application developers so they can start better serving their patients.

If you’d like to learn more about mobile application development, click here.