Not just another shiny object: The role of KEEP’s aesthetic in changing behavior and saving lives


byKEEP Brain Trust

Medication improves quality of life and medication saves lives. But only if it’s taken.

Despite marked advancements in treatment options, we've been trying to tackle the same behavioral hurdles that undermine medication adherence for decades:

  • I forgot…
  • I’m not sure why I’m taking this medication
  • I can’t remember how or when to take this medication; with food? Before bed? Two pills or one?
  • I don’t remember if I already took my medication today
  • I forgot to refill my medication
  • I'm not sure this side effect is normal
  • I feel better and don’t need this anymore

With the significant growth of specialty medications being managed in the home, new strategies are needed to support patients and their families to get the most from their medications.

KEEP is a new solution for age old challenges.

KEEP organizes all types of medication and supplements in one spot, from oral and injectable therapies to drug store vitamins. By managing multiple medications together, KEEP decreases the odds of forgetting a medication while simultaneously offering a more discrete method of medication management than anything else on the market.

Through intelligent design choices KEEP tackles multiple behavioural barriers to medication adherence. Reminders through the KEEP companion app ensure doses aren’t missed due to forgetfulness. There are also built-in accountability mechanisms: for instance, caregivers and loved ones can be notified when medication is missed via the KEEP app and through SMS messaging. This is a valuable channel to drive behaviour as habits are strengthened, for example, when starting a new medication, titrating doses or upon discharge from the hospital.

The KEEP app is also able to share information around the specific medications being taken and dosing instructions. Emotions run high during visits, and it can be hard to remember instructions. When we’re coming out of the hospital, have a new medication, or just aren’t feeling well that day, we need just-in-time information. The KEEP app provides a marked improvement from the specifications restricted to a small space on a pill bottle. This capability is significantly enhanced when KEEP is integrated with care team workflows: the barriers to timely outreach and education disappear. When it comes to motivational challenges, personalizable messages on the front of the KEEP box leverage powerful effects of intrinsic motivation with salient reminders of why taking medication is important in a broader context, such as playing with one’s children.

KEEP removes friction to medication management. The biometric lock means that there’s no need to remember passwords and WiFi and Bluetooth allow the user to control their box from their phone. Passive data capture - including via the internal weight scale which recognizes when medication has been taken - obfuscates the need for manual data entry, which relies on the accuracy of the data inputted by the user (that is, if any data is inputted at all).

I sat down recently with Dr. Sarah Watters while writing this. She is an expert in behavioural science and driving healthy behaviors including medication adherence, and here are some of her thoughts:

"When we remove the friction – like manual data entry – from an action, we increase the propensity for the behavior to become automatic and conducive to habit formation. This is critical to consistent, long-term use, in this case medication adherence. Behaviours, like starting to take medication, typically require effort to carry out when they’re just being started; the key to sustained behaviour often lies in decreasing this deliberate effort through repeated action and the simpler the action the better.”

On the inside, KEEP provides an opportunity to better understand the patterns of behavior and barriers to successful medication management and, accordingly, the most effective interventions by gathering real-time, real-world evidence (RWE). Using this data, we’re able to better address barriers before or at the time that they arise. More generally, we finally capture data that helps to paint a more detailed picture of medication adherence - and barriers to adherence - beyond clinic walls and across different phases of the patient journey. In all, this yields outcomes that benefit both the patient and the provider.

On the outside, KEEP is designed to be visible within the home while maintaining medication security and discretion. Dr. Watters notes, “KEEP has managed to create a place to store medication that is both visually salient, aesthetically pleasing, and safe and secure. To this day, leading public health and medical organizations, like the CDC , advise to put medication up and away and out of sight. While this had long been the best solution in terms of maintaining a safe home, it came at the cost of patient adherence. What’s out of sight is out of mind. Visual cues like the KEEP box embedded into the home environment helps to drive adherence.”

Care beyond the walls of hospitals and clinics is expanding; but it still looks and feels the same as it does within those walls. KEEP is changing the definition of what care at home truly means. Care at home looks different, it looks aesthetically pleasing and seamlessly integrated into our lives and households, all while maintaining or enhancing the capabilities of hardware found within clinic walls, it looks like KEEP.

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