As patients take more pills, tracking that medication and staying on the pill schedule gets harder and harder. There’s no shortage of mobile apps that aim to help patients stick to the drug regimen. But many of these apps feel punitive. After all, an alarm or warning that you haven’t yet taken your meds can feel more like medication compliance by punishment. It doesn’t have to be that way. A gamification startup has developed a mobile app that encourages medication compliance by turning the mundane drug regimen into an engaging game.
Startup CyberDoctor‘s mobile app Patient Partner presents scenarios for a character that’s chosen by the user. As the story unfolds, a user must make choices for his or her character. If the concept sounds similar to the “Choose Your Own Adventure” series of children’s books, that’s by design, CyberDoctor explains. By presenting scenarios in which a patient must make choices, the startup hopes to help patients understand the impact that their own choices have on their own health.
CyberDoctor’s choose-your-own-adventure concept sounds simple but it has scientific reasoning behind it. Akhila Satish, the company’s CEO and the developer of the app, holds a master’s degree in biotechnology. She also developed the app in partnership with pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies. The company has clinical trial data to back up the app’s claims of efficacy. Diabetes magazine A Sweeter Life notes that trials in diabetes patients who had struggled to follow doctor’s orders in maintaining their blood glucose levels showed improvement in that measure, along with improvements in adherence to medications, diet, and exercise.
When the Patient Partner game is over, the medical encouragement is not. The app provides feedback to encourage even more participation, which in turn, promotes better medical compliance. After the patient completes a scenarios, Patient Partner can e-mail results to the user, which can help the patient determine areas of improvement.
Coping with a disease is no picnic. But CyberDoctor is showing new ways that managing disease can be fun. Perhaps even more important, the company has real data showing that its app improves patient outcomes.
Credit image: flickr