Improving Medication Adherence with Technology and AI

From apps with supportive features to developments in early intervention, there are numerous opportunities for personalized care

Improving Medication Adherence with Technology and AI

Medication adherence, whether patients take medications as prescribed, can affect the length and quality of life, health outcomes, and overall health-care costs. A growing issue in Canada, medication noncompliance has been widely reported to account for approximately 100,000 preventable deaths and $100 billion in preventable medical costs per year.

No doubt, many factors, such as affordability, are out of our direct control. However, according to a recent poll published by Intrado GlobeNewswire in 20192, over 40 per cent of Canadians do not take their medication properly because the process is too difficult. Another 23 per cent attribute their nonadherence to forgetfulness, having trouble remembering when or if they have taken their medication. As well, 50 per cent of medications for chronic diseases are not taken as prescribed and 20 per cent to 30 per cent of prescriptions are never even filled.

The advancement of technology in the healthcare space presents the industry with a host of options to improve medication adherence.

Mobile Apps and Health Tools

Medication adherence can be increased thanks to innovative mobile applications and tools that have emerged, offering a host of supportive features:

  • Medication alerts

Providing patients with access to pre- loaded medication schedules on their phones allows people to see their upcoming schedule, along with automatic reminders when it is time to take their medications, helping to eliminate forgetfulness and leading to an increase in people taking the correct medication as prescribed.

  • Dosage and refill reminders

Many prescriptions are never filled as people become busy with their daily lives. Being notified in advance of medication running out and having the ability to renew with one click on your mobile device leads to an increase in the number of people having the medication that they need on hand at the right time.

  • Real-time pharmacy chats

The ability to easily chat directly with a pharmacist to ask quick questions, when- ever you need to, provides an increased level of access to care that people require, on demand, in a faster and easier way.

Tools such as these provide much-needed support for those who take medications on a regular basis and contribute significantly in helping them to stay ahead of the process in managing their conditions

AI and ML in Personalized Care

The use of AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning) are set to propel pharmacy and healthcare to new heights. Although still in its infancy for this industry, the use of such technology in this space will help to monitor, predict, and prevent certain diseases in individuals:

  • Machine Learning for earlier intervention

Monitoring historical data and patient behavior, the non-adherence risk of a patient can be calculated. Those with a higher risk of non-adherence will receive addition- al reminders, as well as virtual check-ins with a pharmacist to ensure that they stay on track and take all medications as prescribed to prevent further complications.

  • Augmented Chat

Through the use of ML, digital pharmacies will have the ability to provide patients with the answers that they are looking for right away. The ability to analyze historical chat messages can not only provide answers to future questions faster, but can also suggest unique treatments and tips to the pharmacist based on the patient profile.

  • Predicting & Preventing Chronic Disease

By understanding and processing a patient’s current and historic health KPIs, the system will be able to predict the likelihood of developing chronic conditions. Once the risk level is detected, the patient can be presented with tailored intervention methods to mitigate the risk.

Pillway, a Canadian digital pharmacy, is implementing the use of technology and AI/ML to provide an enhanced healthcare experience. Its platform allows patients to see their upcoming medication schedule, receive proactive medication reminders, and access their medication adherence scores to ensure that they are staying on track. In addition, patients can easily request renewals and medications can be delivered to patients’ homes before their previous ones run out. The ability to chat directly with a pharmacist in real-time further enhances access to care, ensuring that patients have all the tools and knowledge that they need to take their medications correctly, increasing adherence.

These technologies are paving the way for healthcare providers to make the move from reactive disease management to a more proactive and personalized approach to help Canadians to lead healthier and better lives.


David Sklar is Director of Business Development at Pillway.