A neat reminder service for taking your pills, and other medical needs

Having trouble remembering when to take your pills? Doctor’s appointments? When to get labs drawn? Other scheduled health tasks? There’s a free reminder service available to help with that and more.

It’s called “Oregon Reminders.” And, in spite of the name, anyone in the country (and probably others as well) can enroll. It literally takes only a minute to enroll.

The service was originally designed for HIV patients to help keep them on schedule with their meds, appointments, labs, etc., but it’s open for anyone to use.

oregon-reminderasFor example, you can schedule times when you need to take your pills, even if it’s several times per day. Once scheduled, Oregon Reminders will send you an email, text or phone message — your choice — at the time you selected.

You can do the same for doctor’s appointments, labs, imaging tests, etc.

I registered and told it to remind me to take my “pills” at a specific time. Exactly on time I got this email:

Hey! It’s that time. Take your pill(s). :)

That’s their generic reminder. You can have it say whatever you need to at the time. Something like, “Take your blood pressure pill.” or “Appointment with Dr. Jones, tomorrow at 1 PM.” The email did go to “Trash” before I even saw it, so you may have to adjust your email settings to make sure that they get to your inbox.

Also, text and phone charges may apply, so check into that first before you decide that you want to use the telephony part of the service.

The system doesn’t ask for your name. Just your age and a phone number (if you want text or voice reminders), or an email address if you want email reminders. You can set up multiple reminders per day for medications, appointments, labs and imaging studies or whatever other reminders you may need.

It would also be useful for diabetics as a reminder to check blood glucoses and/or take medications including insulin. It also gives you the option to get free advice on health tips for HIV, general health or both.

The service might not sound very useful if you’re someone who doesn’t, for example, take much medication. But take the example of someone who has cataract surgery, and needs to take a variety of eye drops several times a day. You might remember the drops in the morning and before going to bed, but you might not remember to do it at 3pm in the middle of the workday.

For more information or to sign up, go here.

Thanks and a hat tip to Oregon for doing this and making it available to everyone!

Mark Thoma, MD, is a physician who did his residency in internal medicine. Mark has a long history of social activism, and was an early technogeek, and science junkie, after evolving through his nerd phase. Favorite quote: “The most exciting phrase to hear in science... is not 'Eureka!' (I found it!) but 'That's funny.'” - Isaac Asimov

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15 Responses to “A neat reminder service for taking your pills, and other medical needs”

  1. Larry Addles says:

    There is a new app that helps you with this. Text Timer, sent you texts for anything you want scheduled. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.abma.texttimer

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  3. tiponeill says:

    That’s nice but google calendar does all this for Me already

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  5. Tatts says:

    I don’t get it. My HTC smart phone (a One V, not a high-end model) has a function like this in the clock app that comes with the phone. And the Walgreens app has a pill reminder function that does everything this Oregon service does. Even my last phone, a Nokia feature phone, could do this. And no risk of data or call charges.

    I just don’t understand the point of this.

  6. Tatts says:

    If anything is offered for free, what’s being sold is YOU.

  7. Indigo says:

    Oh, that desk! Maybe I have two desks . . .

  8. vickif says:

    I bought one of those pill boxes that on one side is for morning pills and the other is for evening pills. I put it in the kitchen and I haven’t missed my pills in a very long time.

  9. vickif says:

    I bought one of those little recorders and it’s helped tremendously. Every Christmas i have my son buy one of those desk calenders for me and I keep it up to date and so far I haven’t missed anything I should.

  10. BeccaM says:

    Call my cynical, but my default setting for any service that bills itself as ‘free’ is to look for the catch.

    In this case, it looks benign for the most part, except for one bit in their privacy policy:

    The information we collect from participants is very limited and is used to either 1) deliver messages or 2) help evaluate the effectiveness of the services we provide. We collect phone numbers and/or email addresses. We never ask for names. People who choose to articipate in our surveys are asked additional questions about their behaviors.

    We use aggregate survey responses and participant information (e.g., number of times reminders were accessed in a particular zip code) to help improve our services. Aggregate participant data may also be used in articles and presentations in professional journals, conferences and workshops. We may use information about your carrier, operating system and mobile phone services in the general administration of our service.

    I read that as “by signing up for the service, you are volunteering your medical information to be used in research studies.” And the thing is, while they say “we never ask for names”, who here can’t be identified uniquely by an email address and/or phone number?

  11. Indigo says:

    Yes, there is that . . . as far as meds are concerned (vitamins, actually), mine are on the kitchen table next to the coffee cup so forgetting them is genuinely unlikely.

  12. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    I remember where my desk happens to be. It’s under that enormous pile of papers.

  13. Dave of the Jungle says:

    I can’t even remember where my desk is.

  14. Indigo says:

    I’m so old fashioned I have a paper desk mat calendar. Works perfectly. All I have to do is remember to go sit at my desk.

  15. bkmn says:

    Rather than have a third party involved I use the Lightning calendar add on for Thunderbird email client. All info regarding my schedule resides on my hard drive, not somewhere else where the info of many could be targeted by hackers.

    But if you have recurring medications/tasks any tool to remember to do things on time will be of benefit.

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