Jaipur-based startup Dawaa Dost has described the idea behind a new app called Karma Dost. The concept of the medication-reminder app is simple: let your smartphone remind you when to take medicine as prescribed by your doctor without any assistance from a family member.
When a doctor prescribes a medication, the time and length of the dosages might be difficult, especially if you lose the prescription or forget to take a tablet. These are some of the most prevalent causes of poor adherence, which can have serious consequences if patients have chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease. That’s where Karma Dost, a smartphone software that reminds you to take your medications on time, comes in.
Amit Choudhary, Co-founder and CEO of Jaipur-based Dawaa Dost, explained the concept behind the Karma Dost app.
He said, “For a long time, the old concept was that someone reminded us to take medicine, and if they forgot…I forgot. We took that notion and asked ourselves, “What if we recreated that setting in a digital-first context?”
Medication adherence is a little-discussed and frequently ignored subject in healthcare. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, half of all Americans with chronic diseases stop taking their drugs within a year of receiving their first prescription.
Although there is no scientific evidence available in India, experts believe the adherence rate is far below 10%, which is on the low side.
“Most people in India take a medicine for the first three days and then stop a 5-day course midway because they feel better,” he explained, adding that people frequently do not stick to the prescription plan due to fear of adapting to a new schedule and a lack of information on when to take medicine.
A medication-reminder app, such as Karma Dost, has a simple concept: let your smartphone remind you when to take medicine as recommended by your doctor, without the aid of a family member, and guarantee that the treatment plan is followed.
You may make a list of your prescriptions by uploading the prescription or just putting the name of the drug into the app. You can then program your phone to notify you when it’s time to take them exactly as prescribed by selecting the number of days, weeks, or months the tablet has to be taken and a certain time of day based on the prescription and the disease you’re treating. Repeat for each medication you take.
Users may easily add medication if they don’t recall the name of the pill since you can identify the kind of medicine – tablet or capsule – by its color and size. Once you’ve established a pill reminder, you may choose how you want the notice to be delivered: via the app, phone calls, or text messaging. When you receive an in-app message or a reminder call, it means you have taken your medication or missing a dosage.
According to Choudhary, 80 to 85 percent of app users have chosen to get medication reminders in the form of phone calls. “We do 70,000 to 75,000 calls a day on average between 8 and 9:30 a.m., which is the morning hour per drug,” he added.
The software, which launched last year and is exclusively available on Android-powered smartphones, presently has over 75,000 monthly active users and is expanding. There are no commercials or extra features to unlock in the Karma Dost app.
It’s a free software, and Choudhary has no plans to transform Karma Dost into a “service,” a business model used by many in the sector to expand user base.
The Karma function, and therefore the name Karma Dost, distinguishes Karma Dost from other medication-reminder applications. If a user takes the medication on time, say for the following seven days, they will receive KD coins, which may be used for charitable purposes such as planting a tree, financing a girl child’s education for a day, or feeding a cow.
Apple’s recent rollout of a new Medications function in the Health app on the iPhone has once again focused on drug nonadherence and the worldwide scope of the problem.
While Choudhary applauds Apple for recognizing pharmaceutical non-adherence and addressing the issue in its own unique way, he believes Karma Dost is a superior solution created with a billion Indian people in mind. Some may doubt the usefulness of medication-reminder applications and pill-packing services. However, Choudhary maintains that adherence among Karma Dost users has improved by 40 to 50%.
Dawaa Dost, which Choudhary co-founded in 2018 with Yash Harlalka and Anirudh Batwara, is an omnichannel pharmacy retail chain that promises to address India’s massive healthcare challenges by making drugs more cheap. The Jaipur-based business primarily targets tier 2 and 3 towns and also owns sites like Medwiki, which provides short-form films on treatments, and Karma Dost.