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Geisinger and Merck unveil Medtrue and Family Caregiver apps

In an effort to improve health outcomes, Geisinger and Merck have teamed up to introduce two apps that are embedded directly within the electronic medical record, or EMR, and in the healthcare provider's workflow for optimal use of clinical and patient-reported data during patient appointments. Both workflow solutions also can be used by patients at home.

The applications use SMART on FHIR (Substitutable Medical Applications, Reusable Technologies/Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) technology, an open, standards-based platform for utilizing data from disparate EMRs.

One of the workflow solutions, dubbed MedTrue App, integrates different medication data sources to assist with medication reconciliation and adherence, resulting in a patient and healthcare team-verified medication list. The app features a patient web interface for patient-reported medication verification, changes, and adherence, accessible in the home or upon arrival at a healthcare facility. In addition, it has a healthcare team web interface through the patient's EMR for point-of-care access to the patient's validated medication list and adherence report.

"We know from prior work that about 70% of our medication lists are inaccurate, and these inaccuracies can lead to medical errors," Mike Evans, VP of enterprise pharmacy and chief pharmacy officer at Geisinger, said. "The MedTrue application provides an interface that seeks to clean up medication lists, so patients and providers can be on the same page regarding medication use and better care decisions can be made."

The second workflow solution making its debut is called The Family Caregiver Application. It is intended to help two-way communications and coordination of care for patients and their caregivers.
The Family Caregiver Application features include a calendar that integrates medical and personal appointments and helps coordinate medical care (chemotherapy, radiation therapy, etc.); and a patient-managed medication scheduler based on daily activities.

"Our collaboration with Merck has allowed both of our organizations to leverage our individual strengths, expertise and resources to better enable a shared decision-making process through healthcare technology," David Ledbetter, executive vice president and chief scientific officer of Geisinger, said. "Providing these tools for patients and family caregivers — tested within our own system — enables patients to be more active in healthcare decisions and could increase the likelihood that patients will adhere to their treatment plans and lead healthier lives."

The app allows patients to express preferences, values, and items/activities that are important to patients beyond the treatment of their disease and provides information on health care team members, including roles and contact numbers. There is also a journal-like feature to write notes that allows a narrative-driven dialogue during the healthcare encounter.

"Our experience in collaborating with Geisinger, a progressive, integrated delivery system, has given us many insights on the development and testing of solutions to improve patient care and we are confident these applications can be successful with other health systems," Lisa French, associate vice president of strategy and commercial model innovation of the U.S. market at Merck, said. "We are excited to begin the next phase of our work together, as we actively explore the expanded use and commercialization of these applications with other stakeholders in the healthcare system."
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