Hemophilia Monitoring App Puts Patients In Driver's Seat

Novo Nordisk's HemaGo app for iOS helps hemophilia patients do a better job of tracking their treatment and staying in touch with doctors.

Michelle McNickle, Associate Editor of InformationWeek Healthcare

December 10, 2012

3 Min Read

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HemaGo, an app recently released by the drug company Novo Nordisk, makes it easier for hemophilia patients to monitor their disease, including medication and dosing amounts, personal bleeding information, and details of their treatment plans. The app, available as a free download on the Novo Nordisk "Changing Possibilities" site, also offers multiple profiles, so caregivers and family members can use the app as well.

Patients also can use HemaGo to set reminders for treatments or doctors' appointments, and it can record "[blood] factor usage and reason for infusion; the type, location, and duration of bleeding events; and pain scores, including the impact of the bleeding episode on the individual's participation in work or school," Novo Nordisk stated in a release.

Rich Halpern, senior brand manager at Novo Nordisk, which also provides a hemophilia treatment called NovoSeven RT, said in an interview with InformationWeek Healthcare that the company set out to develop an app that would allow for better communication between hemophilia patients, their caregivers, and their healthcare providers. The aim was to be able to share details of their disorder -- such as how often they're bleeding -- and how the disorder is affecting their lives, "like pain or loss of school or work," Halpern said.

[ To see how patient engagement can help transform medical care, check out 5 Healthcare Tools To Boost Patient Involvement. ]

"There are other hemophilia apps out there, but they don't cover the areas patients need covered when it comes to communications with healthcare professionals," said Halpern. Patients can use some of the available hemophilia apps, he added, only if they are on a specific medication. "[HemaGo] can be used by anyone with hemophilia or any type of [blood] disorder," he said.

The company interviewed hemophilia patients during app development and based on their feedback included specific features. For example, because hemophilia is often a genetic disease, HemaGo lets mothers create a master caregiver account, input information about herself, and then open additional accounts for her children.

Patients also needed ways to record additional medication they were taking, such as Tylenol for pain. "Many of the other apps out there -- you can't add pain medication or other supportive meds," said Halpern. "The only medicines you can enter are to treat the bleeding, so we added a section for supportive medication." This allows physicians to get a clear and complete picture of the patient, "and if there are any other problems, they'd come to light," Halpern said.

The HemaGo app and the Changing Possibilities website allow users to generate reports based on the information entered. Data is synchronized between the app and the website, and users can create reports through the website and then send them to their physician.

"The interesting thing is, hemophilia patients may only go to their physician once or twice a year to refill their prescription, but they don't interact with the healthcare professional enough," said Halpern. "This gives them the opportunity to send reports to a doctor or nurse, and if they're having a problem, the doctor can pick up on it, contact them, and create a modified treatment plan."

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About the Author(s)

Michelle McNickle

Associate Editor of InformationWeek Healthcare

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