Info-tech

Now, a digital assistant that prompts you to take pills on time

T V Jayan New Delhi | Updated on September 23, 2019 Published on September 23, 2019

Kim Shah, CEO, KnowYourMeds

If you are a person who takes medicines regularly, haven’t you often wish someone would remind you to take them on time? Wouldn’t it be great if someone kept tabs on your check-ups before your next visit to the physician?

Help is just a click away. The KnowYourMeds app, recently launched in India, can do all these and more. Apart from reminding the patient about the pill time, the app gives you an option of keeping records of the vitals such as blood sugar an blood pressure values which can be sent to the doctor when required. Besides, it can maintain records of side effects that a person experienced while on a particular drug.

The app is the brainchild of two Indian-origin Americans — Kim Shah and Venkat Srinivasan — who spent overthree decades each in the US IT industry. Realising that such an app would be of tremendous help to people who have to regularly take medicines, they embarked on a project to develop one such digital health assistant about two years ago.

They wanted to create a database of drug-drug, drug-dietary interactions, contraindications and therapeutic duplications relating to prolonged or incorrect use of drugs. “We managed to get hold of 30 million records or drug-related side-effects from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which are free, and bought another 20 million records from the World Health Organization (WHO) available from 126 countries. These 50 million records about drug side-effects form the foundation for the app,” said Shah, who was in Delhi recently. Besides, they collected data about each and every drug that is currently in use in the US as well as in other countries, including India. The details on these drugs were broken down to the constituent levels.

Using these records, they created a drop-down menu of 50 different side-effects associated with medicines.

Users can look up these side-effects and, if they experienced one, can simply click on it to create a record. “We want people to self-report their side-effects, even though they are not sure whether they are side-effects,” said Shah.

Pill alerts

To make it attractive to users, the team kept adding different useful features to the app such as pill reminders and what they called a ‘condition management’, which will alert them to undertake their tests and check-ups on time.

The app keeps all the records of these tests or self-reported side-effects and drug compliance, which can be sent to the consulting doctor by the patient.

Launched about a year ago in the US, the App currently has 1,00,000 users. “We recently launched it in India. We hope the numbers will pick up fast,” said Shah. “Even for people who are taking just one drug, compliance is an issue as we are living in a distracted environment,” he said.

While most of these are part of a free version of the app, there is premium version, too.

One of the key features of the premium version is alerting care givers of a patient about his/her drug schedule, doctor’s appointments, tests, etc. When a patient misses taking a pill, an alert goes out to the care giver on them smart watch or phone, helping them to remind the patient about taking medicines. In India, the premium version of the app costs ₹99 a month.

Published on September 23, 2019
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