PHARMACY

Drugs.com launches mobile app

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Medication-information website Drugs.com has launched a mobile app that includes access to personal medication records, drug-interaction lists and breaking health news, the company said Friday.

The Drugs.com Medication Guide is available free of charge for iOS and Android phones and includes tools such as MedNotes, the Symptom Checker and an A-to-Z index of more than 24,000 prescription and OTC drugs, including information about whether drugs are available as generics.

"As the U.S. healthcare system moves through the upcoming stages of meaningful use, patients will be empowered to utilize mobile health apps to manage their medications and maintain wellness," Drugs.com CEO Philip Thornton said. "The latest Drugs.com Medication Guide app is a practical tool to shorten this learning curve for both patients and caregivers alike. Medication management, safety and adherence will simply become easier."

 

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NACDS, NCPA praise new MTM bill

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — A bill that would expand the pool of patients who qualify for medication therapy management under Medicare was introduced to the House of Representatives Thursday with broad industry support. 

Health policy research group NEHI cites that only 50% of patients take their medications properly as prescribed by their doctor, which costs the nation more than $290 billion annually in avoidable health spending annually. 

“We all acknowledge the tremendous advancements that have been made in medicine, but more than half of all patients do not take their medications correctly — and seniors are particularly vulnerable,” stated McMorris Rodgers. “These health risks and the exorbitant costs associated with them can be substantially reduced if MTM is expanded," she said. "This bill will reduce costs and promote overall health for seniors … all across America.”

"This bill can help patients understand the importance of taking their medications as prescribed,” stated Steven Anderson, president and CEO of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. “Innovative pharmacy services such as MTM help to improve patient health and healthcare affordability, especially for those suffering from chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma and other conditions.”  

“Allowing more Medicare beneficiaries to receive one-on-one medication counseling from their trusted pharmacist will ensure that more seniors are taking their medication properly," added Douglas Hoey, CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association. 

In November the Congressional Budget Office released a report finding that after a review of recent research, CBO estimated that for each 1% increase in overall prescription drug utilization, an overall decrease of $1.7 billion in overall healthcare costs, or a savings of $5.76 for every person in the United States, would be realized. And NCPA cited research in Minnesota indicating that the cost savings from MTM can be as high as a 12-to-1 return-on-investment for MTM. In North Carolina, Kerr Drug reported that MTM programs there helped seniors realize a 13-to-1 return, the association noted. 

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Mhealth market to see strong revenue growth through 2017, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

BERLIN — The global market for mobile health app services is expected to reach $26 billion by 2017 as smartphone applications allow the mhealth industry to successfully monetize its services, according to a new report.

Global Mobile Health Market Report 2013-2017, announced Friday by Berlin-based mobile market research firm Research2guidance, found that top mhealth publishers manage to generate more than 3 million free and 300,000 paid downloads in the United States on the Apple iOS platform.

"Our findings indicate that the long-expected mobile revolution in healthcare is set to happen," Research2guidance head of research Ralf-Gordon Jahns said. "Both healthcare providers and consumers are embracing smartphones as a means to improve healthcare."

The study found that in addition to use of mhealth applications by consumers, 15% of them are primarily designed for healthcare professionals, including continuing education, remote monitoring and healthcare management applications. There are currently 97,000 mhealth applications in major app stores, with 42% of them being based on paid business models.

"With the growing level of mhealth applications, only 9% of the total market revenue in the next five years will come from application download revenue," Research2guidance analyst Patrick Houck said. "Eighty-four percent of total mhealth application market revenue will come from related services and products such as sensors."

 

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