Mobile app brings doc into the equation

By Molly Merrill
12:54 PM

ROCHESTER, MN – A new mobile app links patients with an allergy database created and used by doctors at the Mayo Clinic to help patients make real-time decisions about products they buy, track their allergies and electronically share information with their physician.
Last February, Rochester, Minn.-based Preventice, a developer of mobile health systems, announced that it was collaborating with the Mayo Clinic to introduce health applications based on cloud computing and mobile phone technology. The first app – the Contact Allergen Replacement Database (CARD) System – contains more than 8,100 known ingredients found in more than 7,000 commercial skin care products. 
The database, which is stored on the cloud, is constantly being updated and pruned, said Jon Otterstatter, co-founder, president and CEO of Preventice.
Physicians will be able to use the app to analyze patients’ patch tests (which identify allergies caused by chemicals), said Mike Smith, chief technology officer of Preventice. The physician then enters the results to generate a customized shipping list for the patient, he said.
The app will also allow patients to create a journal that will allow them to share their allergic reactions with their physicians, and even share pictures of what the reaction looks like.
“Products have a lot of reformation and chemical pseudo names,” said W. Drew Palin, MD, medical innovation officer for Preventice. An ongoing database is essential, he said, to notify everyone involved of any product formulation changes.
The CARD app will allow consumers to use a mobile phone to scan the Universal Product Code  (UPC) to determine if the product contains chemicals to which they are allergic, Palin said.
“The Preventice CARD System represents an essential clinical tool for discovering and avoiding skin-care products that cause allergic reactions,” said James Yiannias, MD, of the Mayo Clinic. “Dermatologists at Mayo Clinic have used the CARD System for years to recommend safe skin care products and have found it typically increases patient compliance and makes patient diagnosis and education more efficient.” 
According to Otterstatter, what really makes this app stand out from all the others is the closed-loop technology. “Smartphones are very ubiquitous and powerful and are also very personal devices,” he said.
People use them wherever they go, but generally the health information they view hasn’t been reviewed by a doctor, he said.
“Mobile phones have become the personal advisor,” added Palin. “But the physician cannot go shopping with you.”
The CARD app, and other apps the company is developing, will help the consumer make real-time decisions.
“With a lot of our upcoming apps we are trying to integrate clinical knowledge and sensors to help you as an individual manage your health,” said palin. The mobile technology gathers the relevant data and helps to make it personal, he said.