Complying with medical prescriptions

Patients are not very good at adhering to their medical prescriptions. Here’s how a little cloud computing and mobile technology can help.

The medical community refers to Adherence as the degree to which a patient correctly follows medical advice, for example completing a prescription to treat an acute cough.   Not surprisingly, patients are not very good at adhering to their  prescriptions, there are many reasons why.

Figure 1: Medical prescription calendar entry

In some cases, information technologies can help improve adherence.  In this post, I use Microsoft Azure’s Logic Apps service   to automatically convert my family’s medical prescriptions into timely calendar  entries that popup as reminders on my iPhone. 

First, a brief summary for new visitors. A few years ago I started tracking key aspects of my family’s day-to-day well-being.  You can browse the full list of variables I am tracking here.  I use this data to conduct casual exploration and N-of-1 experimentation to address issues and opportunities affecting my family’s growth, health and happiness.

How did I do it? 

Self-tracking allows me to digitally record all medications prescribed to my family.  This information includes the medication’s name, its ATC code, administration route (e.g. transdermal),  as well as the dosage duration, interval and frequency (e.g. every 8 hours for three days.)   My goal was to turn a prescription’s dosage schedule into one or more calendar events – automatically.   This would provide timely notifications throughout the prescription period.

Microsoft’s Logic Apps Service, promises to automate workflows without requiring a single line of code.  I was also looking for a solution that was quick and easy to maintain and Logic Apps was pretty much exactly what I was looking for.

Figure 2: Microsoft Azure Logic App to convert medical prescriptions into mobile phone reminders

Logic App includes connectors for the underlying database where my self-tracking data is hosted, as well as the Google Calendar I use to manage daily events.   Logic Apps made it very easy to express the workflow required to turn a prescription’s dosage schedule into events in my Google Calendar.


Author: Sergio

Since 2013, I have been experimenting with family data science – or the process of drawing deeper understanding and insights to help my wife and daughters grow, stay healthy and be happy. I am just a curious dad who is convinced that a little 21st century IT along with a stream of the right data and analytics can help reinstate a healthy dose of household conscientiousness in between the joy, pressures and chaos of everyday family life.

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