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Medicine Software

The First Prescription-Only App 84

TWToxicity writes "Most prescriptions would say something like 'take two pills nightly with meal' on the bottle. Now, we may be adding a new method. Baltimore-based company WellDoc is making a national push in 2014 for doctors to prescribe their app, BlueStar, after a regional launch last Fall. BlueStar helps patients with Type II Diabetes by suggesting in real-time when to test and how to regulate their blood-sugar levels by, for example, altering their medication or food intake. Prescription apps may revolutionize mobile medicine and allow for more effective treatments because the patients get real time feedback and the data collected by the app is sent to their physicians. WellDoc is currently working on apps to monitor and coach patients with other diseases. The success of this product will rely on how many doctors prescribe it."
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The First Prescription-Only App

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  • Lovely... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by the_skywise ( 189793 ) on Friday January 03, 2014 @03:50PM (#45859685)

    The doctors are prescribing minders...

  • No thanks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Friday January 03, 2014 @03:58PM (#45859763) Homepage Journal

    I guess I could see this being useful for some, but I am a diabetic and I have no need for this app. Most people who would need it just don't practice tight control with enough discipline. I know when to test, can tell by how I feel when things are off, and know how to adjust my diet and insulin as needed. I also don't think I like the potential for abuse with an app like this. Yes, I know there is HIPPA to protect privacy. For some reason that still doesn't make me feel warm and fuzzy about tracking my health or disorder with an app.

  • by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Friday January 03, 2014 @04:07PM (#45859843)

    Who are already overloaded in information, paperwork, journals, and hypochondriacs asking for penicillin for their colds. And/or the physician is 60, 5 years from retirement, and never bothered learning how to use a PC because they're wealthy enough not to.

    This seems like a great idea from some mid-20s hipster marketing drone, but there's no real benefit. Real-time data to your doctor? Like he's going to call you immediately (or text you, bro) and tell you to put down the candy bar?

  • Re:No thanks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wcrowe ( 94389 ) on Friday January 03, 2014 @04:08PM (#45859855)

    I am also diabetic, and I agree with you. Adjusting your diet and dosages is not that difficult to achieve good control. After a while it almost becomes second nature. Anyone who is too lazy to do it on their own is going to be too lazy to input data into an app which tells them what to do. And, as you say, the tracking component is highly undesireable. I don't need some faceless company nagging me about what I should or shouldn't be doing. Life's hard enough when you have to be your own pancreas.

    I could see a future where insurance companies will require this sort of app, though. I hope they find a cure, or that I'm dead, by then.

  • by nani popoki ( 594111 ) on Friday January 03, 2014 @04:09PM (#45859871) Homepage
    I work in the medical products field as a software developer. You would not believe the amount of red tape involved in making a piece of software that is used to advise treatment. Such software is classified by the FDA as equivalent risk to an implanted defibrillator!
  • Re:Security? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Friday January 03, 2014 @04:20PM (#45859941) Homepage

    I just love this meme on Slashdot. Instant Worse Case Scenario. In fact, instant OMG! Meteor-Strike-Worst-Case-Ever scenario. First off, it's not a ventilator - nobody dies instantly if the app doesn't work. Second, I'm rather sure that security was built in to the system (how effective it is remains to be seen). Third, it's been reviewed at the FDA level - some considerable thought has gone into the product.

    The numbers they are describing - a nearly 2 point drop in Hemoglobin A1c (which measures a running 90 day average of blood sugar levels and is sort of well correlated with long term risks of complications from diabetes) are impressive. That level is typically better than a lot of drugs (manufacturers would be tickled pink to get a whole 1 point drop on a consistent basis). Experience tells us that efficacy in the field is typically less than in controlled trials, but even a 1 point consistent decrease in HbA1c for something as benign as a iPhone app is significant.

    The real test is going to be how well these folks do 3, 4, 5 and 10 years down the line. That's the problem with chronic diseases like diabetes - you have to study interventions for long periods of time to determine if they really are helpful and to gauge any harms. Who knows what an iPhone will be like in 10 years - it may well be directly wired into your brain (and VISA card).

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian