Trial program lets docs 'prescribe' mHealth apps to patients

Happtique, a mobile health app store aimed at healthcare professionals, will launch a trial of mRx, which it touts as the first program to enable physicians to prescribe mHealth apps to patients.

Happtique officials say more physician-to-patient services will improve compliance and health outcomes, and that Happtique's patent-pending technology will help physicians in all specialties to prescribe apps to patients.

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"App prescribing will enhance the provider/patient connection and facilitate healthy behavior changes, potentially reducing costs for providers, payers and patients," said Happtique CEO Ben Chodor. "mRx is the next evolutionary step in the field, and we are confident the provider community will agree and embrace app prescribing as a way to better engage patients in their own health and improve clinical outcomes."

For the program trial, Happtique is recruiting physician prescribers specializing in the treatment of heart disease, diabetes and musculoskeletal conditions, as well as physical therapists and trainers to test the technology with health and fitness apps.

Officials say participating prescribers will receive training and access to a subset of specialty-specific apps, enabling them to integrate appropriate apps into their patients' treatment programs. Following the training, Happtique will track both prescribing processes and patient mRx downloads through early summer.

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To build the trial prescribing catalog, Happtique will select five to 10 apps, both connected and non-connected, in each of the designated categories on both Android and iOS platforms, officials say. Once the trial apps have been selected, participating physicians and trainers will begin prescribing the apps, depending on individual patient needs.

"Mobile app prescribing will add an entirely new dimension to my ability to care for patients," said Steven Magid, MD, of Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. "In this increasingly connected and mobile world, the use of Happtique's mRx will improve doctor-patient communication, patient engagement, compliance, and ultimately patients' health."