FDA Releases New, Free Mobile Database
Understanding your prescriptions and medications is now easier and more convenient than ever, as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently launched its free Drugs@FDA Express app, the mobile version of its extensive online database. Available for both iOS and Android, this new tool allows the public to play a more informed role in their health care by allowing them to look up medications and therapies by name, ingredients, or application number.
In a recent statement, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. explained that the FDA hopes to build on the trend of personal fitness technology to help inform individuals to make better choices, play an active role in medical treatment, and improve their overall health. “From fitness trackers to mobile applications tracking insulin administration, these digital tools can empower consumers with a wealth of valuable health information,” he explained. “We hope that by making this important health information more easily accessible we can help empower patients and providers in making their treatment decisions.”
The new free app offer users an easy-to-use mobile interface also includes weekly updates on FDA drug approvals, a glossary of common FDA terms, and a Frequently Asked Questions section. This helps individuals better understand their medical treatment plans – or those of a loved one – and to partner with their health care providers in achieving better outcomes. This is especially helpful if a person has been prescribed medications from multiple providers, as medications and potential negative interactions can be identified and discussed with providers.
The FDA is not alone in recognizing the role that “big data” and the Internet of Things (IoT) plays in making health care more efficient and seamless. Digital technology is being deployed across the spectrum of health care, from hospital “smart beds” that automatically report when they are empty and available, to digitized medicine dispensing in patient rooms. New technologies are helping reduce human error, increasing administrative efficiencies, and improving health outcomes.
Additionally, through the introduction of electronic health records, a patient’s personal data can be entered into an agnostic software tool and then seamless handed off from first responders to the emergency department team, then on to the treating physician and nursing staff. These digital records – called electronic patient care records (ePCRs) – ensure no important information is lost, from first impression to discharge, and can help reduce the man-hours spent in filling out paperwork and duplicating records. Similarly, advances in data-sharing technology between hospitals and EMS allow leadership in both fields to more easily review statistics and performance to identify gaps and improve patient care for the future.
By leveraging emerging technologies to make medical information more accessible, health care providers and individuals can better collaborate, helping ensure that individuals understand their treatment and medications, and can alter their providers to any issues thy may be experiencing. This can help providers increase efficiencies in their own roles, and improve the chances for more positive health outcomes across the board.