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How cute cat photos may change the way you take care of your health
I can haz regular med schedule?
We’ve all had that “Oops!” moment when we realize we missed a dose of medication. Forgetting to take a birth control pill can be a minor nuisance (albeit one that occasionally results in a baby.) For more serious illnesses, though, forgetting meds can cause serious health complications.
One Canadian company thinks they have a solution: cute cat photos.
Memotext, a Canadian digital patient adherence solutions company—that’s fancy talk for a company that figures out ways to help patients be compliant with their med schedules and treatment plans—is betting we’ll all pay more attention to healthcare instructions if they’re meme-ified in a funny, entertaining way.
Memotext uses automated phone calls, apps, email, and text messages to personalize services for patients in their trials. The project is currently being piloted with patients with Type 2 diabetes who are receiving care at an unnamed medical institution, MedCityNews reports.
In at least one case study, the cat pics approach saw a 31.4 percent improvement in patient adherence. Researchers were working with asthma patients on that one, so they used air quality reports and text reminders.
Memotext founder and president Amos Adler seems to be hoping that the cat photos will make people more likely to engage with the company’s mobile chat bot that is designed to provide health information. The cat pictures are the first step; they begin the conversation and continue with text and interactive voice prompts, which are designed to help patients understand their condition and change their behavior.
Many of us already do what our cat wants, so this program makes an extra layer of sense.
Photo via Matt Biddulph/Flickr (CC by 2.0)
Marianne Kirby is a writer whose work focuses on women's issues and bodies. Her byline has appeared in the Guardian and xoJane, and she has appeared on the Dr. Phil Show and Radio New Zealand.