Pharma insight on digital marketing, social media, mobile apps, online video, websites and interactive healthcare tools
by Dominic Tyer
A US company has started testing a new online system that allows healthcare professionals to prescribe mobile health apps to their patients.
Mobile health application store Happtique says it hopes its mRx form will lead to improvements in patient engagement and adherence by improving patient access to useful apps.
The system is compatible with any Apple or Android smartphone or table, and its four month pilot will focus on apps in cardiology, rheumatology, endocrinology, orthopaedics, physical therapy and fitness training.
Happtique's CEO Ben Chodor said: "Given the tens of thousands of medical, health, and fitness apps on the market today, patients need guidance from health care professionals as they select and use these apps to manage their health.
“We also firmly believe that app prescribing will prove an effective tool for facilitating positive patient behaviour change, which will foster self-management and monitoring and ultimately result in improved health outcomes and lowered health care costs."
For each of the pilot's six focus areas, Happtique consulted a relevant specialist and reviewed relevant websites to develop a sample list of apps.
Its mRx system will offer healthcare professionals the chance to prescribe from those apps or other apps of their choice and the pilot will focus on usability and customer satisfaction.
It will track how many apps are prescribed and how many times the 'fill' button is clicked after an app prescription is sent, but it will not measure app usage or clinical outcomes.
Founded in 2010, Happtique is part of the business arm of the Greater New York Hospital Association. Earlier this year it launched a certification programme for online mobile health applications to vet mobile applications developed for doctors, nurses and patients and reject those that are outdated or poorly built.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently working on official guidance for mobile apps, with a final draft expected to be out in the autumn. It is thought this will cover health apps that make diagnostic claims or have clinical decision support functions, but could still leave a swathe of patient-focused apps unregulated.