One of the major changes we will soon see to improve healthcare delivery is physicians prescribing apps for their patients. Particularly for patients with chronic conditions like diabetes and obesity, it's imperative that patient education be improved. Unfortunately, physicians and nurses can't stand beside patients continuously to help with their disease management. Here's where smart phone apps will come into play. Mount Sinai Health System working with the Icahn School of Medicine has developed RxUniverse, an enterprise-wide platform of curated apps that allows physicians to prescribe them directly for their patients (see: Mount Sinai launches RxUniverse, a system-wide platform to prescribe medical apps). Below is an excerpt from this article:
The platform... aims to address the lack of standardized methodology for physicians to both ascertain which apps would best benefit their patients, and subsequently share with them directly....RxUniverse allows physicians and other healthcare providers to seamlessly and confidently integrate evidence-based digital health tools into their practice. RxUniverse integrates as a feature to the patient’s EHR, and once clinicians open the patient’s electronic file, they can click on the RxUniverse function to digitally prescribe an app through a link that is sent to the patient’s smartphone. The platform also features specifically tailored educational content, patient satisfaction surveys and other digitally-prescribed tools. As the pace of innovation in digital medicine accelerates, there will be increasing demand for the ability to quickly integrate new apps into our health care system....The RxUniverse platform was piloted this summer at five clinical areas at Mount Sinai with the goal of prescribing 100 apps. Since then, participating clinicians have prescribed more than 2,000 apps.
There is a history of similar endeavors in the commercial sector. One such company was Happtique (see: The Rise and Fall of Happtique, mHealth’s First App Prescribing Platform) that was recently acquired by SocialWealth (see: Digital Health Enablement Company SocialWellth Acquires Happtique). Here are more details:
Las Vegas-based digital health enabler SocialWellth today announced the acquisition of Happtique, creators of the first provider-led app prescribing software. Happtique was founded and wholly owned by GNYHA Ventures, the business arm of the Greater New York Hospital Association. The acquisition complements SocialWellth’s existing digital health offerings for healthcare sponsors by enabling them to be connected not only to their members, but also to providers, encompassing the total continuum of care....“We believe that the digital health market must shift from passive digital health to prescriptive digital health curation if we are to achieve the great potential which lies ahead with Connected Patients,”...[a spokesperson] added.
Regarding the health data generated by "wearables" and home mini-labs (i.e., labs-on-a-chip), I had always assumed it would be uploaded to the cloud or web sites and then monitored by physicians and nurses (see: 10 Healthcare Wearables, Devices Dominating CES). Although I expect this to still take place, I now understand that most of the monitoring will be via health apps running on the patients' own smart phones. Moreover and as emphasized in the excerpt at the top of this note, prescribed apps will also be synchronized with "tailored educational content" such as training videos. For example, if a patient with diabetes has questions about diet, he or she can directed to relevant videos on his or her cell phone.