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St Thomas' pharmacist develops app that puts consultation 'in your pocket'

Posted on Thursday 5 September 2019

Gayle holding app in hand

A new medications app that features videos with NHS clinicians has been launched to help the thousands of people taking medications for long term health conditions.

National research shows that 10 days after being prescribed a medicine, more than half, or 55 per cent of patients, are not taking their medicines correctly, often without realising.

MedTap provides answers to common medication questions such as when and how to take pills, what to do about side effects, how to re-order more pills and the cost. In addition, users can record their medicines, appointments and test results to help improve self-management of their care.

Around 1 million people in the UK have the most common heart rhythm disturbance atrial fibrillation while one in four adults have high blood pressure. Both conditions increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke if medications aren’t correctly taken.

The app allows user to watch videos on topics such as heart attacks and atrial fibrillation and ‘favourite’ the most useful ones. Gayle Campbell, senior cardiovascular pharmacist at Guy’s and St Thomas’, led on the development with the support of the cardiovascular pharmacy team.

Gayle said: “Understandably, people can forget what NHS clinicians tell them about their medications during a clinic visit. They may be given a lot of information about side effects, how and when they should take their pills all at once.”

“We developed this app to give patients that information at their fingertips. Patients and their families can access the specific information they need whenever they need it. It’s like having a recorded version of their consultation available 24 hours a day.”

The app was developed following a successful Dragon’s Den style competition for funding from the trust’s cardiovascular research fund, with additional funding provided by the pharmacy special purpose fund. It was originally pitched as an app of patient videos on the use of anti-coagulants in atrial fibrillation, but expanded in topic during development. The team intends to add other modules in future releases.

These videos won an anti-coagulant achievement award in 2018 and Gayle Campbell presented the app at the European Society of Cardiology congress in Paris earlier this month.

The app is free to download from the App Store and Google Play.

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