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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Forget to take your medication? UAE students develop reminder app  

Smartphone app helps remind people to take their medication on time and improves communication with pharmacies.

Dubai Police want traders in fake medication to face the death penalty. Philip Cheung / The National
Dubai Police want traders in fake medication to face the death penalty. Philip Cheung / The National

Students in the UAE have developed a mobile phone app to help remind people to take their medication on time and improve communication with pharmacies.

The personalized service for patients is being built up by a team of students at the UAE University.

The Dwak innovation will link between hospitals and pharmacies to ensure patients take their prescribed medication correctly.

Automatic reminders will be sent to users every time they need to take a pill or medicine dose, to help prevent the health consequences of incorrect use.

Fatima Iqelan, 24, is a UAEU pharmacy student, and wanted to highlight problems surrounding non-adherence to drug prescriptions.

“Quite simply, people can get sicker and even die because they do not take medicine correctly,” she said.

“We realised there should be a way for people to have automatic reminders to take their medicine, ask questions and even make sure their medication is refilled when needed.

“That led us to develop Dwak.”

UAEU is a comprehensive, research-intensive university enrolling about 14,000 Emirati and international students.

Ms Iqelan is on the team with her brother, Yahya, 21, nutrition student Shahd Abadlah, 22, and UAEU management instructor Steve Kranz.

Their task was to devise a usable and practical solution to help patients never miss another dose.

They conducted research which identified incorrect use of prescription medication as a worldwide issue.

In the US, it is estimated to lead to 125,000 premature deaths a year.

It also places a greater strain on already-stretched healthcare budgets, with one out of every 10 hospital admissions due to the patient not following medication guidelines, according to university research.

“Remembering to take prescription medication on time, and getting refills, has always been difficult,” said Yahya.

“There are applications that remind people to take their medication but none that do it automatically.

“Dwak offers automatic reminders once patients pick up their prescriptions and also offers a direct connection with healthcare professionals, so their questions can be answered.”

A pilot scheme to test Dwak is now being rolled out in partnership with Al Ain Pharmacy, with the students hoping to offer the service to all UAE pharmacies by 2018.

They also hope to apply for a US patent and expand the service to other countries, if successful.

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