Teens and young adults lead busy lives, right? But what's one place you can usually find them? Yep, Facebook.
The University of Iowa Children's Hospital figures social media is a pretty good
way to help young transplant patients stay up to date on their medications, so it developed software to do just that, says an article on Health
"Teenagers and young adults do pretty well when it comes to taking their medications initially after a transplant, but the largest number of kidney
failures in this age group comes from noncompliance," says Patrick Brophy, M.D., director of the hospital's Division of Pediatric Nephrology, Dialysis
"They get to feeling better, they start hanging out with their friends and they stop taking their medications," Brophy says. "It's too bad, they're at
the time of their lives when they should be out having fun with their friends and instead we're losing a lot of kidneys."
Brophy doesn't use Facebook but he does have a teenaged son. The physician asked the teen how to get his peers to remember to take their medication,
and the youth suggested Facebook.
"It made sense," Brophy says. "We all need to recognize that this is the way of the future."
The Iowa MedMinder application is customized for each patient. It creates a pop-up box, which appears on the patient's Facebook page, listing all
medications to be taken that day. The patient clicks on the medications he or she takes, and the information is sent to the primary physician.
Teens will find they can't cheat the app, though. The information will be compared to drug level adherence screenings.
"That's how we find out whether the kids are really taking their medications," Brophy says.
The hospital hopes to pilot the program this fall with 13- to 21-year-old transplant patients, the group most at-risk for noncompliance. Information
will not appear in patients' Facebook news feeds, to keep health information private.
Does your hospital or health care organization use apps to help remind patients to take medications? Please, tell us about them.