Stories about: Health apps for your phone

Improving medical adherence in kids? There’s (going to be) an app for that

Adolescents are more likely than adults to have problems adhering to medical routines after transplant.

After an organ transplant, patients need to adjust to a lot of new routines. Medications need to be taken regularly, often at very specific times, to avoid rejection. Eating well and getting enough sleep and exercise becomes essential. Adhering to these changes isn’t always easy, but it’s crucial for maintaining proper health after transplant.

But in the transplant community, thousands of teenagers are at risk of compromising their transplanted organ, because they often have a harder time adhering to these new routines than adults. Some young patients say it’s hard to remember when to take their so many medications, especially when they’re not feeling sick. Others complain that their parents’ constant harping to follow all their care team’s advice makes them want to do the exact opposite.

No matter the reason, one thing is clear: adolescence is hard for many young people; adding the stress of a chronic illness and strict medication routine can make it even harder.

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Drug safety information goes mobile

If you or your kids take multiple medications, it can be hard enough to just get the dosing and timing straight, let alone keep up-to-date on new information about drug recalls and side effects. The web—with all its infinite knowledge—can be a confusing place. But now, a new online application makes it a snap for patients to stay educated about the drugs they’re taking—and report any problems in real time. The application, called Medwatcher, lets users track the latest safety updates from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) on specific drugs of interest, as well as read relevant media stories about the drugs. Importantly, it also makes it easier to report adverse events—negative effects from a medication or treatment.

“It’s well-known that the current framework for finding bad drugs—the next Avandia, for example—is problematic,” says John Brownstein, PhD, of Children’s Hospital Informatics Program (CHIP), who helped develop the application. “The goal is to put information directly into the hands of patients and physicians who are on the go, so they can be educated and able to report events quickly.”

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