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iPhone App to Help Stop Patients from Taking Wrong Medications

David W. Hodges
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Partner at Kennedy Hodges LLP practicing pharmacy error, medical malpractice and personal injury law
Posted on Sep 07, 2013

Pharmacy patients nationwide often receive the wrong drugs due to pharmacy mix-ups. Additionally, patients also mix-up their medications when they take multiple drugs. Because there is room for error and patients can suffer the results of not taking the correct pill, now there is an app for that.

With the MedSnap app, patients with an iPhone can identify the medications they are taking simply by taking a photo of their drugs before ingesting them. This app will help patients taking multiple drugs for their chronic illnesses to keep their medications straight. Additionally, it can help patients from being victims of pharmacy malpractice.

All too often patients at pharmacies receive someone else’s medication, or the right label is on the wrong drug. If patients get in the habit of snapping pictures of their pills before swallowing them, patients may be able to avoid taking the wrong medications and minimize injuries as a result.

This app, invented by a former ER doctor, uses computer vision technology to determine what prescription pill is in the picture. All patients have to do is take a pill out of their medication bottle, lay it on the MedSnap tray, open the app, and take a picture of the pill. The computer matches the images against the pill library within the MedSnap app and identifies the medication. The patient will see the name of the pill on the screen of the phone as well as possible drug interaction information of other medication images previously snapped.

While this app won’t save every patient from a drug mix-up or pharmacy error, this technology is a good step in the right direction in reducing medication mistakes that can harm patients. Unfortunately, this app is not available to individual patients yet, as it just rolled out to various health-care organizations first.

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