Helping consumers better understand over-the-counter (OTC) medications they are taking as well as freeing up pharmacists to consult with patients are the primary goals behind a new smartphone application.
which launched for free in the iTunes store in February, was developed by Anthony Do, PharmD, founder and CEO of Medicyne Corp. and a part-time pharmacist for Kaiser Permanente in California.
Anthony DoThe Medicyne app guides users through a series of questions to “screen patients to make sure they are getting the right recommendations” on OTC products. Then, it helps direct them to the right medications, or lets them know if they should ask their healthcare provider for more information. “The information people read on the package is not necessarily what they need and they may be putting ingredients in their body they don’t need,” Do said.
In addition, retail pharmacists don’t typically have time to fully screen patients. “This app does all the work and weeds out what is good for the current conditions and demographics of the patient,” Do said. “We are not looking to replace the pharmacist; instead, it is an extension of the pharmacist.” Do’s goal is for pharmacists to spend more time consulting with patients taking heart medications, diabetes medications, and other “more critical” medications.
Do expects the app to be especially helpful for the elderly and children. “While many of the elderly patients are not going to be using a lot of technology, they do have caregivers or family members who take care of them,” he said. “And kids are more sensitive to medications because their bodies are still developing.”
Meanwhile, Medicyne is expanding into another area, Medicyne Personal Services, which Do describes as a personal concierge for healthcare services. “The patient can shoot us a text if they need their prescription delivered or connect them with a healthcare provider who can answer questions about their medications or health,” Do said.
The company also plans to add information on prescription drugs to the app in the future. “The reason people aren’t really compliant with taking their medications is a lack of education and understanding about them,” Do said.