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Hospital Apps Must Be Problem Solvers

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media, June 12, 2013

"One of our biggest issues was medication reconciliation. It dawned on me when I was taking my mother to the doctor that she had a tattered list of her medications, some were even out of date," says Rattray.

"There were a lot of apps to keep track of your medication. We wanted to combine that with information about Southcoast."

So, in 2011, Southcoast introduced its free app to iPhone users. Called, SouthcoastMyHealth, it's a prescription tracker that allows users to keep up with medication for multiple people. In addition to the prescription name and dosage, there are also reminders as well as a field to enter in the prescribing doctor, pharmacy, phone number, and other key health information, such as allergies. It's like a mini-medical record for the user.

It sounds simple, but it solves a complex problem, one I lived through with an ailing grandfather who was in and out of the hospital. Every time he came home, his prescriptions changed, as did the dosages and frequency. I was also just one of several people helping to take care of him. Rattray, who was experiencing a similar issue with his mother during the app's development keyed in on this and thought his solution would be helpful.

"There is a built-in sharing function. You can email the list of medications and key health information [to others]," he says. "For example, I would go to the doctor with my mother, and when the doctor changed the dosage on a medication, I could change it and email my sister. More and more people have smartphones. We decided the sharing function would be the one feature that would incent people to keep the app on their phone."

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