Health Discoveries in General Health News

New 'app' offers information about drug safety

September 21, 2010
A new iPhone app is designed to encourage an exchange of information about the use and side effects of prescription drugs from patients and medical workers.

The application, MedWatcher, was developed by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Children's Hospital Boston. It tracks updates on drug safety from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other health information sources.

MedWatcher is available for download free in the iTunes App Store and can be customized to address specific medicines. Reports of adverse drug effects will be reviewed by Children's Hospital Boston, then submitted to the FDA and displayed in the app.

"Our hope is that we will prompt increased participation in surveillance, empowering people to participate in the public health process but also potentially allowing us to 'crowdsource' problem drugs which will lead to better understandings of side effects of medicines, and possibly even bring about earlier detection and prevention," said Clark Freifeld, a research software developer at Children's Hospital Boston.

Within the North Shore-LIJ Health System, the Forest Hills Hospital has a computerized physician order entry (CPOE) system to screen drug safety and report drug allergies, interactions and overdoses to medical practitioners. Fewer than 5 percent of hospitals nationwide have CPOE systems.
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