A new app that helps patients manage their medication promises to transform the delivery of healthcare

IN the current health climate, the draw of Dr Google can be irresistible. The opportunity to understand our health promises control and relief but instead stokes fear, paranoia and anxiety. 

But while self-diagnosis is undoubtedly dangerous, technology can help us take back control over our health – so long as we do so responsibly. 

That’s the view of Glasgow-based firm Talking Medicines. Established seven years ago by a trio of entrepreneurs – Jo Halliday, Dr Elizabeth Fairley and Dr Scott Crae – Talking Medicines enables patients to take control of their medication and captures digital insights into how people take prescription drugs. 

Talking Medicines is on the frontline of improving how patients understand and manage their health. Through its app, Medsmart, people scan their various medicines, save them to a virtual drugs cabinet and then set up reminders that will prompt them on when and how to take them.

“Medsmart helps patients become more informed about their health,” says Fairley. “We are the glue between healthcare and the patient.”
Fairley believes that technology will improve relationships between patients and their healthcare providers by giving people more control over their health.

“Now, when you go to the doctor, they will often not only give you a treatment option or a prescription but a website with information about your condition or medication. Patients are more empowered than they ever were and are making decisions to challenge their healthcare.

“Self-diagnosing is very dangerous, but if we work with it across different sectors, we can get the very best outcome for our patients.”
As our population continues to age and mental health issues are on the rise, investment, research and development into medical technologies have never been so time-critical. 

Therefore, the information that Talking Medicines gathers about its users is essential for pharmaceutical companies who want to improve their patients’ health outcomes. 

“It is the data that’s valuable,” explains Fairley.

“That evidence can be used to help patients in the long run. For example, we’ve shown pharmaceutical companies that you need to talk differently to females aged between 20-30 than males aged 50-60. 

“It is then about tailoring that marketing and communication with patients, to fit their needs.”

Data and privacy concerns are increasingly topical as our day to day activities move online. 

For a company like Talking Medicines that relies on the income from selling data – and sees the good that can come from that information – transparency and privacy are top priorities.

“We try to be as transparent as we can to ensure that people really understand what data we are capturing and how pharmaceutical companies will use that data,”  says Fairley. “We take great care into how we save our data, ensuring that nothing is traceable to an individual patient,” says Fairley.

As a company that uses technology to create social change, partnering with businesses dedicated to improving people’s lives is essential for Talking Medicines and Fairley.