There’s Gotta Be An App For That

No doubt about it, we’ve come a long way from a few years ago when I was asked each and every time for a list of my medications and each one was written down by hand and later added to my paper chart. Today, my physician consults a computer screen.

I’ll admit it, when I’m asked for this information, I look amongst “reminders” of things on my iPhone; along with a book I want to read, the telephone number of a tailor my daughter-in-law recommended, and the items I’m getting my husband for Christmas.

The only redeeming feature is that at least it isn’t on paper, I suppose. Oh, and it’s easily accessible. Sort of …

The disturbing part for me about confirming and updating this list is the underlying fact that whichever physician you are seeing at that moment doesn’t actually know what other physicians have prescribed for you. That means I have to be very certain I keep my list updated; which brings me to the idea of a medication master list.

This simply cannot be a novel idea.

As it turns out, there are a number of apps for just this purpose. However, it’s curious that patient uptake has been relatively poor which leads me to ask why. From this patient’s perspective I’m just not impressed enough by an app that keeps a list for me when I’m feeling like this should already be information I, and all my health professionals, should have access to; I didn’t say it was a great reason, and yet it seems I’m not alone in this resistance.

Here’s something to consider: in addition to the medications I’m taking can you give me access to my blood work reports, bone density scan report, and so on? It often takes more than “isn’t this cool or convenient?” to motivate a patient to try something new. Do you know how hard it is to convince ourselves to do something because it is good for us?

Another angle to consider is setting up a medication master list for patients. I’m talking about the convenience of walking into my pharmacist and having the app installed, prescriptions loaded, even a quick tutorial on how to use it. My pharmacist already has a list of my medications (assuming all prescriptions are filled there) and each time I pick up new prescriptions these can be added to the medication master list.

So maybe it isn’t just that there has to be an app for keeping track of my medications. No question, there is resistance on the part of the patient. I don’t presume to have all the answers, but I’m motivated to figure this out. After all, this is my life, and someone has to get this medication master list figured out … even if I don’t have access to it yet.


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