Doctor develops a platform for prescribing apps in health systems


Led by Dr. Ashish Atreja, a graduate of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), a team at the Sinai AppLab has developed and launched a platform for doctors to prescribe medical apps directly to patients. “The platform for app prescription, RxUniverse, is a game changer for health care because it lets us get the right advice to the right patient at the right time,” Dr. Atreja, Chief Technology Innovation and Engage-ment Officer, Medicine, Mount Sinai Health System, New York, said.  Today there are more than 245,000 medical apps available, along with other digital medicine technology such as fitness devices and telemedicine. Most pa-tients haven’t been able to benefit from these advances because their doctors lacked a way to find the right app and prescribe it directly to the patient’s phone.

To test their solution to this problem, Dr. Atreja and his colleagues implemented the RxUniverse platform at five clinical sites at Mount Sinai Health System in New York.  “We expected that these sites would prescribe apps to 100 patients in a six week period,” Dr. Atreja said. “We were totally blown away when we found that apps were prescribed to more than 2,000 patients, twenty times our goal for the pilot”. These prescriptions at Mount Sinai included apps that provided health education content, helped patients access their medical records and refill medications, surveyed pa- tients on their experience in the hospital, and tracked patients’ symptoms to prevent com-plications and avoid hospital readmission. For Example, a diabetic patient’s prescription can go beyond medication to include an app which can teach them how to check blood sugar, eat the right kind of food, and know what symp-toms to watch out for. If blood sugar is not controlled by medication, the app can report data directly back to the doctor’s office and make sure the patient’s treatment plan is ad-justed right away.

Following the success of the pilot, the RxUniverse platform is now being adopted throughout Mount Sinai and licensed to other health systems via a partnership with a spinoff company, Responsive Health. Dr. Atreja is also planning  to bring this platform to India to partnership with (Association of Physicians of India) and through an AIIMS alumni ini-tiative called Virtuous Health. “Because India is a world leader in smartphone usage, there is a tremendous potential for digital medicine technologies to improve our national health,” said Dr. Gurpreet Wander, President of API.