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JMIR Mhealth Uhealth





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Funded in part by the VCU Libraries Open Access Publishing Fund.

Date of Submission

October 2019


Background: Smartphone apps can be a tool to facilitate independent medication management among persons with developmental disabilities. At present, multiple medication management apps exist in the market, but only 1 has been specifically designed for persons with developmental disabilities. Before initiating further app development targeting this population, input from stakeholders including persons with developmental disabilities, caregivers, and professionals regarding the most preferred features should be obtained.

Objective: The aim of this study was to identify medication management app features that are suitable to promote independence in the medication management process by young adults with developmental disabilities using a Delphi consensus method.

Methods: A compilation of medication management app features was performed by searching the iTunes App Store, United States, in February 2016, using the following terms: adherence, medication, medication management, medication list, and medication reminder. After identifying features within the retrieved apps, a final list of 42 features grouped into 4 modules (medication list, medication reminder, medication administration record, and additional features) was included in a questionnaire for expert consensus rating. A total of 52 experts in developmental disabilities, including persons with developmental disabilities, caregivers, and professionals, were invited to participate in a 3-round Delphi technique. The purpose was to obtain consensus on features that are preferred and suitable to promote independence in the medication management process among persons with developmental disabilities. Consensus for the first, second, and third rounds was defined as ≥90%, ≥80%, and ≥75% agreement, respectively.

Results: A total of 75 responses were received over the 3 Delphi rounds—30 in the first round, 24 in the second round, and 21 in the third round. At the end of the third round, cumulative consensus was achieved for 60% (12/20) items in the medication list module, 100% (3/3) in the medication reminder module, 67% (2/3) in the medication administration record module, and 63% (10/16) in the additional features module. In addition to the medication list, medication reminder, and medication administration record features, experts selected the following top 3 most important additional features: automatic refills through pharmacies; ability to share medication information from the app with providers; and ability to share medication information from the app with family, friends, and caregivers. The top 3 least important features included a link to an official drug information source, privacy settings and password protection, and prescription refill reminders.

Conclusions: Although several mobile apps for medication management exist, few are specifically designed to support persons with developmental disabilities in the complex medication management process. Of the 42 different features assessed, 64% (27/42) achieved consensus for inclusion in a future medication management app. This study provides information on the features of a medication management app that are most important to persons with developmental disabilities, caregivers, and professionals.


©Teresa M Salgado, Alexa Fedrigon, Donna Riccio Omichinski, Michelle A Meade, Karen B Farris. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.

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VCU Pharmacotherapy and Outcomes Science Publications