Integrated apps for medicines

This article first appeared in the November 2014 issue of Pulse+IT Magazine.

There are any number of apps available that consumers can use to keep track of their medications, but the real value in an app is the ability to order script repeats or set up a convenient time to pick up their medications. For that, the app needs to integrate easily with the pharmacy’s own systems, which is where specialist apps come into play.

The National Prescribing Service (NPS) first released its MedicineList app back in 2011, at the time featuring some nifty capabilities such as allowing users to take a photo of their medicine’s packaging, dispensing label as well as the medication itself.

The app also allowed users to enter details of the brand, its active ingredients and the strength and dosage. Similar apps had flooded overseas markets and they began to appear here too, but whether any of them were used regularly or not is a matter for conjecture.

For consumers, what would prove much more valuable was a way to use their app to communicate directly with their pharmacy, particularly the ability to request that repeat scripts be dispensed, and to set a time to physically come into the pharmacy to pick them up. For that to happen safely, and to ensure it was the right patient and the right time for a repeat, the app had to be able to communicate with the pharmacy’s dispensing system.

That began to happen in earnest with the release of Send a Script in mid-2013, although the GP2U telehealth service had begun working on a similar system earlier that year. Send a Script, designed by Wollongong pharmacist Fabian McCann, initially allowed consumers to take a photo of the script and SMS it to the pharmacist. At the pharmacy end, Mr McCann developed a web-based dashboard app that received the SMS, managed the dispensing process and then sent a notification back to the consumer when the script was ready to be collected.

To read the full story, click here for the November 2014 issue of Pulse+IT Magazine.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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