MediKeep: smart app for managing your medicine cabinet

The MediKeep application for smart devices helps you safely manage your medicine cabinet: it reminds you when pills or vitamins need to be taken, notifies you about their expiry dates and offers you the option of reviewing patient information leaflets or medical prescriptions.

“MediKeep is a forward-thinking product as a growing number of people recognise that they have to take responsibility for their own health and that of their loved ones,” says Kerti Alev, CEO of MediKeep OÜ. “Doctors are overloaded with work, which means that everyone should seriously consider what they can do to stay healthy and avoid taking medication – or in a different case, to be fully informed about the meds they take.”

MediKeep OÜ continues to develop a mobile app and an online solution to make it easier for people to take care of their health by better managing the medicine cabinet. The app allows for scanning a product’s bar code, or alternatively, looking up the packaging of vitamins and medicines in a database. It also reminds you when to take a pill (for example, an allergy medication) or a vitamin, how long before you run out of the medication, when it expires or when you need to get a refill. Information on how to administer a medication is conveniently available in patient information leaflets. What is more, users can review their e-prescriptions via a smart device – MediKeep is currently the only app in Estonia with this functionality. The app can also be used to find your nearest pharmacy to fill a prescription. To make it easier to keep track of the health status of all your loved ones, the medicine cabinet can be shared with other family members. There is a health log available for taking notes in chronological order about how family members feel health-wise.

“Most of us cannot recall or say with certainty what kind of meds our medicine cabinet holds, whether some of them – and which ones exactly – will expire soon or how long before we run out of a medication. Also, sometimes drug interactions occur between medications because not even doctors and pharmacists are aware of each and every product that people use. Typically, it is the elderly that take a number of medications. Currently, MediKeep can be used to analyse each medicine cabinet – the app highlights meds which should not be taken at the same time,” Alev explains.

Alev said that the idea for MediKeep was prompted by her own need for such an app.

“For those with small children, keeping the medicine cabinet up to date can be a real challenge,” she admits. “I remember thinking that a list of all the medicines I have at home would come in handy when at the doctor’s office or at the pharmacy. Or that I would like to take notes on the health of individual family members.”

So, as anticipated, a major target group of the app is parents, that is, families with kids. Still, patients with chronic illnesses are seen as potential users. The elderly seem to have also taken to MediKeep, which is only logical because they use medicines most often and the reminder function makes sure that they take the correct medicine at the right time. The app is a convenient tool for everyone who wants to keep track of their medication needs and its impact on their health.

Currently, MediKeep’s team consists of eight people invloved according to need and workload. Most of the employees are developers and marketing specialists.

As for other similar projects, Alev pointed out the Medisafe medicine recognition app, created in the USA. This app identifies medication based on its appearance. According to Alev, it differs greatly from MediKeep in that the former can be used only for medicines that need to be taken over a certain period of time – it is not an integrated solution for managing the medicine cabinet. Alev also mentioned Mango Health, which is not available in all parts of the world, including Estonia.

MediKeep is largely based on crowdsourcing because there is no public database for products and their bar codes. While a medicines database is provided by the State Agency of Medicines, bar codes are not – the more bar codes scanned and entered by users, the more up to date MediKeep becomes for other users. And users can remain anonymous if they choose. According to Alev, it was important for MediKeep to allow users to view the app without creating an account. However, backing up your data requires users to sign up. User data is securely stored.

“Data security is one of our main priorities when it comes to privacy,” Alev assures. MediKeep is duly registered with the Estonian Data Protection Inspectorate, their databases are secure and whenever required, data is encrypted. “We would like to underline that we do not store extremely sensitive data (such as data received in connection with an e-prescription inquiry) in our databases. Instead, such data is stored on your mobile device and will soon expire.”

MediKeep’s initial target is the Estonian market. The most urgent task at hand is organising the database as regards bar codes and only then it is possible to expand business to other countries according to growth opportunities and needs.

“In the USA, there are similar apps available because development is a lot easier over there – it is a huge country with a common system,” Alev explains. On the contrary, setting up a Europe-wide system is bogged down by each country having a separate list of medicines which can be marketed or administered and the fact that people prefer to read product leaflets in their mother tongue.”

“But even in Europe medicine databases and regulations are being aligned, which means that it might be easier later on to launch a similar product here. Although our long-term target is Europe, in all likelihood we will first expand step by step into our neighbouring countries, such as the other Baltic states, Finland and Sweden.”

Currently, MediKeep is in the development phase in which the company has to come up with a business model and implement it. Alev was reluctant to go into more detail about this stage but admitted that there are perhaps too many development options available which, in turn, complicates the decision-making process. She mentions that for MediKeep, an important milestone was participating in Bayer’s accelerator in Germany and joining up with the Health Cluster, which helped them find new contacts.