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Drug apps should be reviewed by pharmacists

EAHP advises that any app linked to the use of medicines must have regulatory oversight to ensure safety

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The European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP) has called for any mobile app related to the use of medicines to be reviewed by a pharmacist before being made available to patients.

The EAHP, which represents hospital pharmacists in Europe, issued the request in its response to a consultation on mobile health issued by the European Commission (EC) to gain input on the health related applications of smartphone technology.

“The implications of a badly designed mHealth application related to medicines use is frightening,” said Dr Roberto Frontini, president of the EAHP. “All medicines can potentially cause harm if not taken properly.”

“We recommend pharmacists be involved in both development and testing of such applications,” added Frontini, noting that this was also recommended din the European Statements of Hospital Pharmacy published in May this year.

The comments add to concerns about the availability of healthcare apps and whether they should be treated more as medical devices.

Elsewhere in its response, the EAHP stressed that the introduction of new technologies in the hospital setting is an ever-present reality.

The organisation added: “lessons learned include the need to understand the potential positive applications of a new technology at an early stage, and for Governments and health system managers to take a leadership role in achieving their realisation.”

EAHP also gave its support to the use of big data in improving the provision of evidence-based healthcare, assisting decision-makers and aiding epidemiology and public health activities.

The organisation added, however, that it does not at present feel qualified to advise the EC on the legal implications of accessing and using this data.

EAHP concluded by urging the European Commission not to think about mHealth as only having cost-saving benefits but that patient safety and patient outcomes must be considered just as important.

The EC consultation remains open until close of play on Friday July 10.

10th July 2014

From: Marketing, Healthcare

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