Shaping the right patient care requires the right tools—tools that differentiate between solid evidence and solid hype. A tremendous amount of information purports to advise clinicians and consumers. Not all of it is reliable. The situation is further complicated by the sheer number of recommending organizations (e.g., 101 hypertension guideline sources are listed in guidelines.gov). Charting a wise course for patient care is additionally undermined by industry influence, sparse high-grade evidence, and the persistent separation of lay and professional information.
Let’s simplify. TandemHealth, a partnership between the National Physicians Alliance and Consumer Reports, will develop an app for use before, during, and after a clinical encounter — for consumers and clinicians alike — with clear, evidence-based approaches for the most common medical conditions. Our project name comes from an intentional focus on the mutual patient-provider experience. Importantly, we accept no funding from industry
We are making use of smartphone, tablet, and desktop platforms. Our design principles include:
- Patient focus, with user-friendly qualities;
- The goal of judicious and thoughtful prescribing1, including identifying ineffective/harmful approaches;
- Smart graphics/effective information display2;
- Freedom from industry influence;
- Patient/Provider engagement and communication;
- Use across lifespan of clinician (initial training through practice);
- Use of behavioral economics – understanding ways people make actual health-related decisions3;
- Thoughtful updates; and
- Partnerships to support high-value care.
The market for this product is proven. 70% of physicians use the medical reference ePocrates on their smartphones; the program is also used by a million nurses, pharmacists and medical students.4 90% of patients with chronic conditions would accept the prescription of a mobile app versus just two-thirds who would accept a medication prescription. Because apps often depend on funding from the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, many prescribers are looking for an independent source of evidence-based treatment guidance — an equally convenient, user-friendly mobile app powered exclusively by scientific interest in high-value care. We have the opportunity to bring an unbiased, consumer-oriented, value-conscious product where it is much needed.
1. Schiff GD, Galanter WL, Duhig J, Lodolce AE, Koronkowski MJ, Lambert BL. Principles of conservative prescribing. Archives of internal medicine. 2011;171(16):1433–40.
2. Patel MS, Volpp KG. Leveraging insights from behavioral economics to increase the value of health-care service provision. Journal of general internal medicine. 2012;27(11):1544–7.
3. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Applying Behavioral Economics to Perplexing Problems. Available at: http://www.rwjf.org/en/grants/grantees/behavioral-economics.html.
4. Wilson D. Drug App Comes Free, Ads Included. The New York Times. 2011:B1.