- Geisinger and pharmaceutical manufacturer Merck debuted a pair of new software tools aimed at improving patient care and communications.
- The Family Caregiver application aids in care coordination by enabling two-way communication between patients and their caregivers. Features include a calendar, patient-managed medication scheduler, personal preference options, provider names and contact numbers and journal to jot down notes.
- The second new tool, called MedTrue, integrates various medication data sources to boost reconciliation and adherence. Among the app’s features are a patient web interface and point-of-care access to the patient’s prescription drug list and adherence report.
The launch comes as providers and payers are pushing patients to take more responsibility for their own health through use of patient portals, wearables and digital apps that monitor vital signs and healthy activities.
And consumers want more interaction with their doctors, too. According to a recent report from Aetna, patients want doctors who communicate clearly, offer more convenient scheduling and provide access to other healthcare professionals to coordinate care.
Both of the new apps are embedded within the EHR and in the provider’s workflow and are accessible to patients from their home. The Family Caregiver is also accessible by family members who are assisting with care.
Developed through an ongoing collaboration between the Danville, Pennsylvania-based health system and Merck, the new tools comply with Substitutable Medical Applications, Reusable Technologies (SMART) and Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) formatting, an open-source platform that allows information to be shared among different EHRs.
“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 treatment plans and lead healthier lives,” David Ledbetter, Geisinger executive vice president and chief scientific officer, said in a statement.
Geisinger said it tested the apps within its system prior to Wednesday’s launch and is currently conducting real-world studies to better understand the effectiveness of each of the tools.