From Innovation to Intervention…Northern Ireland Healthcare Review sit down with AppAttic’s Carley Morrow to discuss medicines management and the future of tech. Below is an excerpt from issue 105, Q3 2017.

HOW DID MEGA MEDS COME ABOUT?

It was initially developed through a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI). The SBRI called for innovative tenders around medicines optimisation and we proposed an app that gamified the process of logging medicine adherence. Gamification is a method of encouraging engagement though game techniques such as points and badges. The proposal was accepted and a version of the app is undergoing a randomised control trial (RCT) with a Northern Ireland health trust. We also have a public research study that enables anyone to download the app for iPhone or Android and participate anonymously. This has been supported by an Innovate UK project to investigate crowdsourcing as a means of trialling mhealth interventions. Both studies are showing extremely high levels of adoption compared to industry benchmarks and we’re looking forward to seeing the final results.

HOW DOES IT DIFFER FROM OTHER APPS?

Beyond gamification, the app includes a real game whereby users compete against each other to become the biggest and strongest. We also took a game approach in terms of the design, so it has a fun and friendly vibe rather than being clinical and it’s very simple to use. It also differs in that we provide a safe environment for users to tell us their reasons for non-adherence. We found this additional information to be hugely insightful for medicines optimisation. As a result, we’re now working with a health trust on designing a solution for ADHD that enables the clinician to remotely review adherence, efficacy and side-effects alongside parameters such as weight and height. This optimises the titration process, provides a better experience for the patient and potentially substantial cost savings for the health service.

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?

Having Mega Meds in the app store and in clinical trial has provided invaluable feedback and it’s amazing seeing individual people benefiting from it, however to extract maximum value we really need see how it can help improve quality of care within the health service. Beyond the immediate rewards of improving experience and productivity, there is an opportunity for benchmarking which would allow efficiency gains to be noted and knowledge shared across all trusts. Over the coming months we’ll be looking to see how we can make this a reality.