A new functionality has been added to prescription ordering app Echo to help carers manage the medication of patients with long-term health conditions.
The new feature enables friends, family members or other carers to oversee a person’s medication and order repeat prescriptions on their behalf.
In doing so, carers can ensure the person they are looking after is taking their medication and can be alerted when a prescription needs to be refilled.
Carers can add a friend or relative to the app, select the patient’s NHS GP and request a repeat prescription on their behalf. Once approved by the patient’s GP, the medication is dispensed from a participating pharmacy and delivered to their door for free.
The new functionality also means that carers managing the medication of multiple patients can do so through a single platform.
Formerly, Echo users have only been able manage their own medication through the app. Echo said that the new functionality had been added due to demand from patients.
Stephen Bourke, co-founder of Echo, said the ability to manage the medication of another person was “the number one feature request from our existing users.”
Bourke added: “Many patients with long-term health conditions require several different types of medication over the course of a day. Often, it just isn’t possible for them to reach this medication – whether it’s down to bad anxiety preventing them from leaving the house, issues with mobility or simply time.
“We hope that by having the app, Echo users will be feel better able to monitor and ensure their loved one is properly adhering to their medication and, in doing so, give them some peace of mind.”
According to Echo, there are an estimated 7m carers in the UK, a figure that is expected to rise to 3.4 million by 2030.
John Craig, CEO of NHS Care City, said: “We are delighted to see that Echo is extending its service to carers. Technology has a huge role to play in care delivery, particularly when it comes to improving access to services in a safe and cost-effective way.
“Applications like Echo provide practical, easy-to-use solutions that fit into existing care pathways. Medication management is a significant challenge for carers and clinicians alike, so we are excited at Echo’s potential.”
Despite some confusion around the role of Echo from some corners of the medical community, the British start-up has been a predominant figure in the UK health disruptor scene since being established in 2016.
The app has been downloaded more than 100,000 times since its launch and secured £7m in first-round funding late last year.