Stanford Medicine X Poster: Mobile medication apps for older adults
Exploring the usability of medication management apps with older adults
Kelly Grindrod PharmD MSc | Melissa Li BScPhm Candidate | Allison Gates RD PhD Candidate
e asked 35 adults aged 50+ to spend 2 hours trying 4
popular medication management apps on mobile devices. Here
is what we found.
Most participants had trusted methods to track or take
medications, such as pillboxes, watches with alarms and
computerized printouts of medications lists.
Most participants were capable of, and interested in, using apps
for medication management.
Many participants looked for a need that their current
medication management system was not filling. For example, if
someone was comfortable managing their own medications,
they wondered if they could use an app to help an aging spouse
Participants felt simple graphics and linear layouts improved
usability. Few thought reminders would be useful as devices are
often powered off or left at home. Older users may also have
difficulty hearing reminders.
Clearer regulations may help users put more trust in medication
management apps. To improve design, older adults should be
involved throughout development.
To explore the usability and utility of existing medication
management applications for older adults.
Each person was given access to an iPad, iPhone and
Samsung Galaxy loaded with the following apps:
In groups of 3-7, participants were given standardized
prescription and non-prescription bottles to complete app-
specific tasks that highlighted different features (e.g.,
reminders, drug interaction scanning, profile sharing via email,
Participants evaluated apps with the System Usability Scale. A
repeated measures test was used to compare scores.
Afterwards, researchers moderated a 30min discussion on user
experiences. Sessions were recorded and transcribed and
analyzed using grounded theory.
PocketPharmacist Drug Hub
Table. Participant characteristics (N=35)
DrugHub: simple, good display and easy to use and read.
MyMedRec: easy to navigate (most linear) and simplest.
Pillboxie: nice graphics but little value over a pillbox.
PocketPharm: lots of information but overwhelming.
How did it feel?
Easier with practice
Thank you. Our project
was partly funded by a
Royal Bank of Canada
Fellowship. Special thanks
to the Cities of Waterloo and
Kitchener and to the
Kitchener Public Library for
all their help during
recruitment. We do not have
any conflicts of interest to
MyMedRec Pillboxie DrugHub PocketPharm*
Figure. Mean System Usability
Scale Scores (*p<0.05)