Older Adult Preferences of Mobile Application Functionality Supporting Medication Self-Management

Andrea M. Russell*, Samuel G. Smith, Stacy Cooper Bailey, Lisa T. Belter, Anjali U Pandit, Laurie A. Hedlund, Elizabeth A. Bojarski, Steven R. Rush, Michael Wolf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Health systems and insurers alike are increasingly interested in leveraging mHealth (mobile health) tools to support patient health-related behaviors including medication adherence. However, these tools are not widely used by older patients. This study explores patient preferences for functionality in a smartphone application (app) that supports medication self-management among older adults with multiple chronic conditions. We conducted six discussion groups in Chicago, Miami, and Denver (N = 46). English-speaking older adults (55 and older) who owned smartphones and took five or more prescription medicines were invited to participate. Discussions covered familiarity with and use of current apps and challenges with taking multidrug regimens. Participants reviewed a range of possible mobile app functions and were asked to give feedback regarding the acceptability and desirability of each to support medication management. Very few participants (n = 3) reported current use of a mobile app for medication support, although all were receptive. Challenges to medication use were forgetfulness, fear of adverse events, and managing medication information from multiple sources. Desired features included (1) a list and consolidated schedule of medications, (2) identification and warning of unsafe medication interactions, (3) reminder alerts to take medicine, and (4) the ability record when medications were taken. Features relating to refill ordering, pharmacy information, and comparing costs for medication were not considered to be as important for an app.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1064-1071
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Library and Information Sciences


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