"Windows 8 is providing new ways for healthcare IT developers like NextGen to enable consumers to use one device to take charge of their own healthcare and well-being," said Dennis Schmuland, M.D., chief health strategy officer of U.S. Health & Life Sciences at Microsoft in a statement. "With the MedicineCabinet app, patients can … tap, type, or swipe to share and stay connected."
Michael Paquin, VP of business development at NextGen, told InformationWeek Healthcare that the tool isn't only used for patients to become engaged in their care. The company designed it to also provide reminders and alerts and act as a "quick reference medication record" to present to physicians. For example, if a patient visits a new physician and his/her medication information isn't readily available, the patient is able to present the app information to the new physician.
[ To see how patient engagement can help transform medical care, check out 5 Healthcare Tools To Boost Patient Involvement. ]
"[The new physician] can still make an assessment and make sure they aren't reproducing the same action or prescribing new medications that may cause negative implications to the patient," Paquin. "It's one more check and balance to ensure the well-being of the patient." Paquin said the conversation regarding the app began with his parents. "My dad is a cardiology patient, and 9 out of 10 times, everyone asks what [his] medications are," he said. "[My parents] bring out a little piece of paper with things scratched on it, and usually it's only things my mother can read. We thought of this and said, 'How can we make that experience better for patients?'"
From there, the MedicineCabinet app was developed and will eventually interface with other NextGen products, said Paquin. "It's really a matter of [a patient] going in and updating their medication list," he said. Patients can also add dosing and scheduling protocols and share all this information with the physician. "It's a basic app to start with," said Paquin. "Eventually we'll look to stages two and three and four of this."
Paquin said anything that can keep patients engaged, considering the onset of Meaningful Use Stage 2, is considered valuable, and the thinking behind the MedicineCabinet app was to have something that is "simple and easy to use," he said. "Overall we've had a lot of great interest in it," he said.
The MedicineCabinet app is free and available in the Microsoft App store.
Clinical, patient engagement, and consumer apps promise to re-energize healthcare. Also in the new, all-digital Mobile Power issue of InformationWeek Healthcare: Comparative effectiveness research taps the IT toolbox to compare treatments to determine which ones are most effective. (Free registration required.)