A new type of prescription developing within the field of healthcare is reaffirming the impact that technology is having on medicine. In a recent Information HealthCare article titled, “Online Program Lets Docs ‘Prescribe’ mHealth Apps,” author Ken Terry discusses the emergence of mobile app prescriptions, an innovation that many patients may experience in the near future.
With the general proliferation of mobile health apps, it only makes sense that earlier adopter physicians would begin prescribing them to patients. Happtique, a mobile app store, is scheduled to launch an mRx program to make it easier for physicians to prescribe these mobile applications to patients in hopes that the outcome will be “better adherence and better health” on behalf of patients, according to CEO Bob Chodor. With 13,000 iOS apps in 300 health categories such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, the company is ready to see if doctors will prescribe apps, and if patients will take the advice of the physician and subscribe to them. Happtique is rolling out a pilot program where it plans to enroll 100 physicians across the country to observe how the process will carry through in reality. Not only does Happtique curated mHealth apps, but it is also involved in the certification of the applications, making sure that they are safe for users, free of malware and that they live up to their claims. Happtique involves physicians from relevant specialties in the app review process.
At the moment, Chodors says that most providers are not prescribing mobile apps because they are not being reimbursed for non-visit care and many hospital IT departments have other priorities. He remains optimistic, however, that they are ready to begin prescribing apps. The problem is that they just do not have an easy, simple mechanism to prescribe the mobile apps within a couple of clicks. Nonetheless, Chodor predicts that “Physicians and institutions will create app formularies. Not only are they going to prescribe drugs, but they’ll prescribe apps, whether they’re for smoking cessation, diet, or blood pressure.”
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(Post written by Dan Dunlop with Charles Ramsey. Charles is a healthcare marketing intern at Jennings and a student at Wake Forest University. He’s learning a lot about healthcare this summer as he researches topics for blog posts.)