One company is using image recognition and augmented reality to help engage patients

For many people, understanding medicines and treatments can be complex and frustrating. This can lead to failures in following GP instructions and ultimately, the worsening of their health. Founded in 2013, Talking Medicines has developed a mobile digital solution to the problem.

Using augmented reality platform Blippar, Talking Medicines enables patients to access enhanced information about their medication from a single access point, using a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet.

The industry-approved service provides users with engaging information in an interactive and easy to understand format, including dosage instructions, administration technique videos, built-in notifications and links to real-time services. The medical assets provided are secure and link directly to the medical device or packaging, ensuring that the right information gets to the right person at the right time.

With an ageing population and the rapid increase in lifestyle and age-related diseases putting pressure on healthcare services, ensuring patients take their medicine correctly has never been more important.
This not only affects the patient. Poor medical adherence contributes significantly to increased cost and pressure on services for healthcare providers, often at hundreds or thousands of times the cost of the medication itself, with huge social economic impact.

By helping to boost compliance figures by between two and nine per cent, Talking Medicines has attracted the attention of pharmaceutical companies and government agencies around the world. The technology also allows physicians and veterinary professionals to track compliance and behaviour, enabling them to support their patients’ needs further.

From its base in Scotland, Talking Medicines has been able to develop an international network to help build its business. The company has worked with Scottish Enterprise since its early days via its account management ser- vice. It has also developed an excellent relationship with the Digital Health Institute (DHI), helping it build an international support network and develop an overseas sales and marketing strategy.

Talking Medicines’ co-founder and director, Jo Halliday, credits the country’s integrated support network, including Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Development International and the Digital Health Institute for helping the company achieve its success to date. “This network has also opened doors to the academic community, through which the University of Glasgow has helped use economic modelling to inform our business pitches and demonstrate return on investment.”