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 for smartphones 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. “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.”

Today, MediKeep is a free mobile app for home pharmacy management and health event tracking, but the future vision aims at better solutions for personalised medicine and prevention. The company is in the testing phase for offering genotyping service (and accepting raw DNA files from other service providers, like 23andme.com) and their near-future goal is to add pharmacogenomic (PGx) and lifestyle decision supporting features for the application. This means that the app will enable scientifically confirmed personalized recommendations to the user regarding medicine, suitable dosage and risk for side effects based on their individual genome. Other features that are in the development pipeline include nutrition metabolism and even fun facts about the user traits based on their genomes. “We really want to think through the user experience and the methodology of how to design the service so that it will have a positive impact on people’s behavioural health and deliver real, meaningful results,” explains Alev.

In November 2017, MediKeep successfully boarded its Advisory Board members, including 3 experts in Estonia on different areas: Lili Milani, Senior Scientist at the Estonian Genome Center, University of Tartu and SciLifeLab Uppsala. Andres Kütt, MIT graduate, Angel-architect in IT, and last but not least Kaarel Mikkin, who is partner at Brand Manual, award winning service design company.

MediKeep is looking for funds to close its seed-investment round and people who are interested in “biohacking” their own genome. Early sign-up is available at www.medikeep.eu

The idea behind MediKeep

“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.

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.”