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New App Helps With Patient Compliance

The Easy Drops app is designed to help patients keep track of their drop regimen

A new, free app may help patients become more compliant with their eye drops, therefore making treatment more effective. Niraj Desai, MD, Milan Eye Center, Johns Creek, Ga., was involved in the creation of the Easy Drops app.

“It is an app that my partner first created in practice and that we have been codeveloping for the past 18 months for our patients,” Dr. Desai said. The app debuted at the 2014 ASCRS•ASOA Symposium & Congress, and options for marketing it to more practices in the United States are now underway.

The app will always be free for patients to download, Dr. Desai said, adding that a subscription process for surgeons is available.

Purpose of the app
“The core purpose of the app has been to help our patients with their pre- and postop drop regimen,” he said. Most cataract surgeries are done in both eyes, and after the second eye surgery, patients are often taking multiple drops in each eye. This can get confusing for a patient who has a paper checklist of various drops with different doses.

Dr. Desai’s practice gets many phone calls and questions from patients when they are trying to figure out their drops, so he and Milan Patel, MD, decided to develop the Easy Drops app.

“[We’ve been using the app in the practice] for about 2 years, and now it has become a regular feature,” he said.

 

Evolution of Easy Drops app
In the last 2 years, the app has evolved to include additional features. “Initially, the app was more rudimentary with just the function of eye drop reminders,” Dr. Desai said. “We took the existing app and recreated it so that it’s much more robust for the patient and surgeon.”

Now, instead of an app that only coordinates eye drops, it has the practice’s information, driving directions, and an option to email the practice. In addition, Easy Drops has integrated Eyemaginations (Baltimore) educational videos and information about the advanced technology IOLs, bladeless cataract surgery, and other types of surgeries offered by the surgeon. However, Dr. Desai said the primary purpose of the app is still to help patients with their eye drops.

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In addition to assisting with pre- and postop drop regimens, the Easy Drops app has integrated educational videos and information for patients.

 

Patient response
Patients’ response to the app has been positive overall—most are relieved when they see that they can avoid a good deal of paperwork. They like it because it fits in with the rest of ophthalmology and cataract surgery, which has become very advanced, Dr. Desai said.

“There has always been a disconnect when you offer the ‘latest and greatest’ in technologies, like the femtosecond laser, but send patients home with a piece of paper that they have to mark off with pen or pencil,” Dr. Desai said. “This app seems to flow well with the patients and their families who embrace technology.”

Younger patients seem to like the technology aspect of the app, while older patients, who are perhaps being taken care of by a family member, also like it. The app can be synchronized across two devices, Dr. Desai said, so family members can check if the drops are being taken.
The app requires very little effort from the patient. Once the patient inputs surgical dates, everything else is automated by the specifications of the surgeon, Dr. Desai said.

When a surgeon subscribes to Easy Drops, the types of surgeries the surgeon offers, the eye drop regimen for each surgery, and any educational videos are delineated by the physician on a separate website (easydropsapp.com).

The app helps explicitly keep track of drops being used. “One of the screens within the app is called the accuracy meter,” he said. “It allows the patient as well as the surgeon to take a glance and see what percentage of drops are being taken.”

“The aspect of compliance is certainly something that we don’t take lightly,” Dr. Desai said. Easy Drops helps keep an accurate count of who is taking eye drops, when they are supposed to.

The app helps to fill in a gap where certain parts of surgery and care have lagged behind, Dr. Desai said. Easy Drops is currently available for the iPhone and iPad and will be expanding to the Android in the near future.