Pogue's quest for the best pill-reminder app

I’ll admit it: Apps that remind you to take your pills are not as sexy as, say, folding laptops or MP3 toothbrushes. But they’re important. Every year an estimated 125,000 Americans die from taking their pills incorrectly, according to a 2012 study from the Annals of Internal Medicine.

It’s easy to understand how people could get confused. Pretend you’re on three meds: Two orange pills once a day with food, one white pill three times a day, and two blue caplets every four hours. Got it?

Come on. There’s no possible way you’re going to get that right every day.

Now imagine you’re taking five meds a day, or 15. You see the problem.

Why couldn’t someone write a pill-reminder app? Perfect solution, right? Record your meds and when you’re supposed to take them, and boom: You get notifications.

It wouldn’t have to be complicated. All we want is

  • an easy way to enter the complicated medicine names correctly, preferably autocomplete;
    illustrations of the pills so we know what to take;
  • info and warnings about what we’re taking;
  • a To Do list showing what’s coming up;
  • a History report showing how well we’ve done;
  • options to skip or postpone a dose;
  • and the option to monitor someone else’s adherence, so you’ll know when, let’s say, your dad has forgotten to take his heart med and you can call him to bug him.
    After slogging through 75 apps and testing each one, I’m happy to report that there is one app that does all of that—and it’s free. It’s called Medisafe, for iOS and Android, and you can see it in action in the video above.

I’ll be back with my full report on these apps in my weekly Yahoo Finance column next week—but I thought I’d give away the punch line today. Because for the millions of Americans on prescriptions Because for the millions of Americans on prescriptions, installing an app like this is too important to wait.

David Pogue, tech columnist for Yahoo Finance, welcomes non-toxic comments in the Comments below. On the web, he’s davidpogue.com. On Twitter, he’s @pogue. On email, he’s poguester@yahoo.com. You can read all his articles here or you can sign up to get his columns by email.

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