Author: Ruth Leonardo Paredes
Date: November 2021
The Medisafe app is intended for drug management. It helps “patient” users to remember the time of taking their medication thanks to the notifications they receive. In addition, it is a reminder of family medication, since we can have our relatives or trusted people as "Medamigos" and they will receive a notification in case we do not record the taking of medication.
In this review we will analyze the free version of the Medisafe app on a device with Android version 11.0 and another device with iOS version 13.4.1.
It is important to mention that the configured doses and the frequencies of these shown in the images of this review are simulated, they do not correspond to a real treatment prescribed by a doctor.
User interface on Android devices
After installing the application, it is possible to create a user account as an option, to keep all our data and settings safely saved in case of changing devices or reinstalling Medisafe.
Immediately afterwards, the home page will be shown, at the top of said page a calendar is shown where the current day is marked, in the central part the doses that correspond to said day are shown and finally at the bottom of the home page we see 4 icons: “Home Page”, “Updates”, “Medications” and “More”.
The "Home" icon , will take us to the home page of the app when we are on any other page of the application.
The "Updates" icon , will display links to blog posts or videos of interest related to Medisafe. In addition, it will show us the medications that we have missed on the current day and information about our medications.
The "Medications" icon , shows a list of all our medications. At the top of this screen we see a triangular icon that by clicking on it we can share our list of medications through applications such as Gmail, WhatsApp, etc.
At the bottom we have a button "Add a medicine", when we click we go to the "Add medication" menu, in which we must write the name of our medication. As we write, a list will be displayed with possible matches for the drug we are looking for. It is important to mention that the medications registered in the Medisafe app are only available with their name in English. In case of not finding our drug in the list, we just have to write the full name manually and click the "Next" button.
On the next screen we must choose the format of our medicine as a pill, solution, injection, powder, drops or inhaler. Then we must indicate the dose of the drug by choosing one of the units of measurement shown on the screen. If we slide our finger over the list we will see more units that were not visible before.
Later we must answer the question, Do you need to take this medicine every day? with the following options: Yes, No, Only as needed.
In case of answering “Yes”, we must indicate the frequency of taking the medicine by selecting one of the options shown on the screen. If none of these options indicates the frequency with which we take our medicine, then we must select the option "Other", where we indicate the number of times the medicine should be taken in the day or the interval of hours between takings. one day.
If we have indicated a number of times per day, it will ask us What time of day do you take your first dose? And we must choose between Morning, Noon, Afternoon and Night, then we indicate the time of taking the first dose, repeating this process n times according to the number of times per day that we have indicated.
If we have indicated the interval of hours, we must say the time of the first dose and the number of doses per day will automatically be generated with their corresponding time.
At the end of the configuration of the frequency of taking the medicine, the screen that we see in the image below will appear.
The first option "Establish the duration of the treatment", allows us to establish the start date of the treatment and its duration.
The option "Receive medication refill reminders" allows us to indicate the number of doses we have left so that if we need to refill the prescription, send us a notification when we only have "n" doses left and the time we want to receive this notification. In addition, optionally we can add the identifier number of the recipe.
The option "Add instructions?", Allows us to indicate if the dose should be ingested or applied before eating, at mealtime, after eating or if it is not necessary to take it with food.
In addition, we can add any other instruction that we deem appropriate.
Finally, the option "Change the icon of this medicine?", Allows us to change the icon with which the medicine is represented, with the option of changing the shape and color of the medicine in order to facilitate the identification of said medicine. Without a doubt, we can represent our medicine with accuracy since there are approximately 50 icons and a great variety of colors.
Now, we have finished configuring our treatment and we can view it on the "Medications" page.
If we select any of our medications, we will be shown all information that we have provided about our treatment. In addition, Medisafe adds more information related to said medicine, answering the questions: What is this medicine? What happens if I miss a dose? What side effects can I have when using this medicine?
When we have already added some medicine, a pink button with a "+" symbol is unlocked On the home page, clicking on it opens the options "Add medicine", "Add health monitoring" and "Add dose".
The option "Add medicine" is the same as the one found in the "Medications" menu that we explained above.
The option "Add health monitoring", allows us to add monitoring to certain discomforts or health problems, for example, headache, drowsiness, etc. In which we must indicate the time of the reminder.
To carry out the follow-up, we must click on the “Follow” button on the “My health follow-ups” screen or by selecting the option that appears on the home page.
Subsequently, the monitoring screen appears and we must indicate the intensity of the pain, discomfort or problem representing said discomfort with numbers between 0 and 10, with 0 being equivalent to not feeling discomfort and 10 being the maximum value, equivalent to "Very strong". We save our follow-up by clicking on the "Done" button.
The option "Add dose" allows us to register the taking of a medicine. For example, if we have a pain medication that our doctor prescribed, that we only take it if we need it. Then we click on the button "Add dose" since it is a specific case and we do not have scheduled reminders.
Going back to the Medisafe app home page, we see the “More” icon . Which shows us a menu with the following sections:
- Health trackers: this option shows us all our health follow-ups. If we click on the "More information" button, we will obtain a graphic representation of our monitoring that can be viewed by day, week, month and year.
- Notes: In this section we can add notes that we consider most important related to our treatments, our doctors, etc.
- Appointments: In this section we can add our medical appointments, in which we can associate said appointment with a doctor that we have registered in our list of doctors within the Medisafe app. In addition, we can add a reminder for said appointment, the location and notes related to the appointment.
- Doctors: In this section we can add our doctors, entering data such as the name of our doctor, their specialty, their email address, their address, their contact numbers, for example, their work or personal phone number. In addition, we can select an avatar that represents our doctor.
- Refills: In this section we will find a history of the times we have refilled our medications.
- Report: This section allows us to set up a report about a drug or all of our drugs. The report is a document in PDF format with the option to export it to Excel, which contains information about the doses that we have taken or that we have missed. This report can be daily, weekly, monthly or yearly and we can send it to our doctors, relatives or trusted people through WhatsApp, Gmail, among other applications. We have noticed a small error in this section, as it is mandatory to fill in the "Recipient's Email" field in order to send the report, but it is not always necessary to specify the recipient's email. For example, if I want to send the report via WhatsApp, the recipient's email is irrelevant.
- Settings: The most interesting options in this menu are "My places" and "General settings".
- “My Places” allows us to postpone medication reminders until we reach one of our saved “places”.
- In the "General settings" menu we can modify the frequencies of the reminders, the sound of the reminder, if we want it to vibrate or not when receiving the notification, if we want the led indicator or not, choose between "Light mode" or "Dark mode », change the style of the home screen, etc. Remember that "Dark mode" helps us reduce or minimize visual fatigue by adjusting the brightness according to the lighting conditions of the environment and facilitates the use of screens in dark environments or environments.
- Help and support: In this section we find answers to certain questions that will help us to understand more fully how this app works. We can also contact the Medisafe support team to resolve problems or questions related to the application.
- Reminder troubleshooting: In this section we will find instructions and tips related to troubleshooting our reminders.
Finally, if we click on our user, we can add profiles and "Medamigos". A "Medamigo" can be a family member, friend or caregiver and this can be synchronized to our account. Medisafe sends a notification to our Medamigo giving him the possibility to remind us to take our medicine.
If we are in the care of dependent people, we can create different profiles and associate the treatments with each corresponding profile. The possibility of having multiple profiles is beneficial to manage the medicines of the different profiles, but we must bear in mind that the free version only allows us to have 2 profiles.
User interface on iOS devices
In this section we will mention the most important points in which the user interface differs on iOS devices compared to the interface on iOS devices.
The iOS version shows the "Add" button at the top right of the home screen, represented by the "+" symbol. , which is equivalent to the button seen in the Android version.
When we click on the mentioned button, the menu in the center image appears, which compared to the menu shown in the Android version (image on the right), adds the options "Invite Medamigo" and "Add diary entry" but we do not have the option "Add dose" seen in the Android version.
The More Icon Menu , also has some differences. The "Measurements" option in the iOS version is equivalent to "Health Trackers", as well as "Agenda" is equivalent to "Notes" and "Report" to "Report".
The iOS version does not have a "Refills" option in this menu.
In general, both versions are similar, since they have the same functionalities, although in some cases they have different names and the number of screens to add a drug and configure notifications varies a bit without affecting its operation. Even so, the design of the interface, menus and icons is maintained.
Data and privacy
Medisafe partners with healthcare companies and provides them with completely anonymous aggregated data collected through the Medisafe app.
Medisafe ensures that they guarantee the privacy of users since their app is a solution compatible with HIPAA, GDPR and has ISO 27001 certification. The information Medisafe provides through the Medisafe app helps healthcare companies devise new treatments and help patients stay on top of their medications.
Medisafe has an intuitive and attractive interface, which is very easy to use. The language used is simple and allows users to quickly get used to the various functions it has.
We have used this app for a week and in this period we have not encountered errors of unexpected closing of the application, or errors in the notifications of the shots. In addition, we have verified that it adapts to the different types of screen sizes of a smartphone or tablet. Also the response speed when clicking the buttons is immediate.
Regarding the buttons and icons, we have verified the following:
Buttons: Buttons are appropriate in color, shape and size. The text present in the buttons is consistent with the function, menu or screen to which they redirect us.
Icons: Button icons are intuitive avoiding ambiguities in the functionalities they represent. In addition, the wide variety of icons to represent medicines allows the user to identify a medicine exactly as it is in reality.
In Medisafe's general settings menu we see some options that we can customize to make it even easier to use. For example, the option to shake the mobile when a notification arrives to mark the medicine as taken, the dark mode option, the option to activate the vibration and led light when a notification arrives.
Medisafe does not have settings as specific as choosing the contrast of the text or the size of the text. However, this can be changed in the settings of the device itself.
In case of belonging to some of these groups listed below, we can solve some accessibility limitations of the application with voice command tools or screen readers.
- People with reduced or no vision: Thanks to screen readers such as TalkBack for Android or VoiceOver for iOS, the use of certain applications is more easily accessible for people with reduced or no vision. For this reason, we have carried out tests complementing the Medisafe app with TalkBack to analyze the impact that the complementary use of these applications would have on this specific group. Unfortunately we see small errors that make it difficult for this group to use the application. The errors detected are the following: it does not allow us to click on the pink "+" button on the home page and there are some buttons without labels, for example, the back button, the add "+" button and the edit button represented with a pencil. When testing with VoiceOver (iOS) we also found that some buttons are not labeled. For example, the "Alarm Notification Text" and "Alarm Snooze Time" buttons in the setup menu are unlabeled buttons and VoiceOver reads as "Button, button."
- People with physical difficulties: We have carried out tests with a voice control app called Voice Access available for Android devices. Thanks to this app it is not necessary to physically interact with our device. In this way, we make Medisafe a more accessible app for groups with physical difficulties. We have observed that we can access the buttons without description through labels assigned by the mentioned app, thus solving this problem detected with TalkBack. But still it is still difficult to select the pink button on the home page because it is not assigned a label. However, this can be solved by running the voice command "Show grid". Undoubtedly, Voice Access is better suited to Medisafe and can be used by various groups such as the elderly, people with physical difficulties, people with reduced or no vision, etc.
Without a doubt, we are facing a very powerful, complete and useful application that will facilitate the management of our medications, allowing us to remember the doses by receiving reminders and personalized alarms. In addition, in case of omitting any of these doses, it is possible to notify other people so that they remind us of the omitted medication intake.
We must remember that this app mainly helps us remember the time to take the medication, if we want to enhance the management of our medications we must carry out a meticulous organization to make their location and identification easier. For example, we can have our medications organized on a weekly basis in a physical pillbox. Or keep all our pills in boxes, jars, cabinets, etc. well labeled so as not to be confused with some other drug that is similar in shape to the drug we should take.
- Easy to use.
- It has intuitive icons.
- It allows to identify medicines according to their shape and color thanks to the wide variety of icons available for medicines.
- It allows to record and track the doses taken and not taken. In addition to managing reminders at different times, intervals and frequencies.
- It allows monitoring of health problems or discomforts such as headaches, drowsiness, etc. and view graphs on our progress.
- An Internet connection is not required for its correct operation.
- It allows interaction with smart watches so that notices are received on the watch.
- Availability of the themes "Dark Mode" and "Light Mode".
- Available in multiple languages.
- Possibility of having 2 profiles in the free version and multiple profiles in the premium version.
- Availability of an option to alert other people when to take their medications or when missed doses are recorded
- Reports related to the taking of our treatments can be generated that we can share with a family member or a doctor.
- It can only be connected to one device.
- The drug search engine is in English and to add drugs in Spanish or with names recognized in Spain, we must add them manually.
- Some buttons are not labeled making it difficult to use in conjunction with the TalkBack (Android) and VoiceOver (iOS) screen reader.
- Some users who have published their review in the Play Store comment that there should be the option of making a one-time payment for the purchase of the premium version. Remember that the subscription to the premium version is made with a monthly or annual payment.