Individuals 65 years old and over said having technology to help remind them to take medication would be helpful, but the technology needs to be easy to learn and familiar, according to a research study done by Queen Mary University of London and University of Cambridge.
Participants who did not have access to a smartphone said they preferred smartwatches to remind them to take their pill.
Although, there are numerous new techniques and technologies developing in the medical field for taking medication, not much is known whether people 65 years and older might find it difficult to adopt these technologies. With ingestible sensors, interactive text messages, wearables and more, it is hard to determine how these technologies will immerse into the medical field.
The study received opinions of emerging technologies for individuals 65 and older who are taking cardiovascular medications.
Generally, the participants in the study said they would appreciate receiving alerts to remind them to take medicine:
- “. . .you always need to remember these things, they do slip your mind, even if there’s days of the week printed on your tablets sometimes you think, “did I take it this morning?””
Almost all participants wore wristwatches, and they said their preferred technology would be a smartwatch:
- “. . .watches, if we all had watches. . .If it’s simpler to use elderly would appreciate more, it’s something that they have on their hand, on their arm. . . It’s a continuation of what we’re familiar with instead of something that we’re not familiar.”
- “The watch is good but the mobile phone, half the time old people don’t know where they’ve put the phone, it’s the same with glasses, they don’t know where they’ve put them so it wouldn’t be of no benefit, but that watch would.”
Some concerns of this technology use included less in-person communication with a doctor, cost, data security, being too dependent on technology and worrying their technology might suddenly stop working:
- “If it’s got to be a smart phone rather than an ordinary phone the cost of providing these for all the elderly is going to be astronomical.”
- “Well I see [technology might cause] lack of communication between professionals and the very elderly. . .., I’m afraid that this is about cost-cutting.”
Dr. Anna De Simoni, lead researcher from Queen Mary University of London said the findings highlight that people over 65 years of age on cardiovascular medication are willing to consider the use of technology to help them with certain medical tasks. These tasks include reminding them to take medicine with alerts and monitoring the dose of each medication.
“In clinical consultations about medicine taking, healthcare professionals can explore technologies familiar and easily accessible to patients as a way to ensure good adherence,” said Simoni, according to Eurek Alert. “To this end additionally checking on common concerns, like worries about data security, becoming dependent on technology and consequences of technological failures can be beneficial.”