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Geisinger mHealth Apps Target Care Coordination, Medication Adherence

Geisinger Health has unveiled two new mHealth apps that integrate with the electronic health record and give providers and patients a connected health platform for care coordination and medication management.

Source: ThinkStock

By Eric Wicklund

- The Geisinger Health System has developed two mHealth apps designed to tap into EHR data to improve care management and medication adherence.

Working with Merck, the Pennsylvania-based health system has unveiled the My Family Caregiver and MedTrue digital health apps. Both are integrated directly into Geisinger’s EMR platform, giving providers a connected care platform for gathering clinical and user-reported data.

“Providing these tools for patients and family caregivers — tested within our own system — enables patients to be more active in healthcare decisions and could increase the likelihood that patients will adhere to their treatment plans and lead healthier lives,” David H. Ledbetter, PhD, Geisinger’s Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer, said in a press release.

Both are built on the SMART on FHIR (Substitutable Medical Applications, Reusable Technologies/Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) platform. The open, standards-based technology enables users to collect and manage data from different sources, including EMRs and telehealth tools.

The Family Caregiver App includes a calendar for scheduling healthcare appointments; a journaling feature so that the patient can take notes during an appointment; a patient-managed medication scheduler; information on the patient’s care team, including roles and contact numbers; and a notebook feature for collecting patient preferences, values and activities.

“The Family Caregiver Application enables our team to create a more personalized experience with each patient during a very difficult time,” Rajiv Panikkar, MD, Chair of the Geisinger Cancer Institute, said in the release, noting the app had been tested with oncology patients. “With this application, we are able to engage with family caregivers on a deeper level by planning treatment appointments around important personal upcoming events and answer medical questions that the patient or caregiver may otherwise forget to ask during a scheduled appointment.”

The MedTrue app, meanwhile, gives providers and patients a connected health platform on which to manage medication adherence. It includes point-of-care access to the patient’s medication list and adherence report; a web-based patient interface for collecting patient-reported information on medication verification, changes and adherence; and medication fill data from a national prescription data aggregator.

“We know from prior work that about 70 percent of our medication lists are inaccurate, and these inaccuracies can lead to medical errors,” Mike Evans, Geisinger’s Vice President of Enterprise Pharmacy and Chief Pharmacy Officer, said in the release. “The MedTrue application provides an interface that seeks to clean up medication lists, so patients and providers can be on the same page regarding medication use and better care decisions can be made.”

The project with Merck is the latest of several pharma collaborations for Geisinger, which is looking to develop a connected health platform that would reduce wasteful healthcare expenditures, boost clinical outcomes and give the health system an edge with patients in an increasingly competitive healthcare landscape.

Just last month, Geisinger announced a partnership with AstraZeneca to build an mHealth platform that enables asthma patients and their care providers to monitor health at home and improve care management and coordination.

“Patients sometimes do a lot worse with their asthma than we know based on a three-, six-, or nine-month periodic office visit,” Paul Simonelli, MD, PhD, chair of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Geisinger, said in a press release. “This new suite of products could easily be adapted to any long-term chronic respiratory illness that needs monitoring, including COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).”

Geisinger was also one of the first health systems to enable patients to access their EMR data through Apple’s Health app.

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