Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Rx with Blemishes

After doing a bit of research, I thought I'd plop down $10 of my hard-earned money on what is the most expensive iPhone applet that I've so far purchased: MotionPHR for the iPhone. This applet is billed as providing "a secure record of you and your families (sic) health."

At this point, I'm not into using all of the program's existing bells & whistles. I was interested in two things: pharmaceutical and immunology records. In the day since I've begun to noodle with this program, I can only address my observations about the pharmaceutical side of things.

In an earlier post, I talked about how Google Health makes use of pull-downs and hyperlinks when you add medications to your profile. Perhaps that spoiled me, because I was really disappointed when I discovered that I had to manually type everything into the MotionPHR applet. Forget pull-downs and forget spell checking. To its credit, MotionPHR does let you record the Rx number of a prescription, which is something that Google Health didn't do. However, back to manual data entry: I had a bunch of prescriptions to key in, and I though that it was stupidly inefficient of the program to not make use of the first instance of the pharmacy name to allow for speedier entry on subsequent prescriptions. I mean, most people use a single pharmacy for their various prescriptions, so why should they have to type the same name and phone number each time?

And the phone number is dumb, too. One of my reasons for putting that prescription info in there in the first place was so that I could call my pharmacy's automated voice mail system for refills. MotionPHR does not link the phone number field to the iPhone!

Another feature in the medications portion of the applet lets you record and increment the number of refills. Missing, however, is a calendar entry for when the prescription expires.

If you have a Google account (and who doesn't?) MotionPHR uses 64-bit encryption to back your medical data into a Google Docs account. It's only for archival storage, but it is a handy feature. MotionPHR's Blogspot site mentions that a future incarnation of the applet will soon let users be able to "sync their Personal Health data with Google Health and their iPhone." This could be a good thing,tm in that one might be able to use Google Health and a real keyboard for entering their prescription information. Or, as MountainLaurel commented on my earlier Google Health posting, it could also be a bad thing.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Google Health

Google has a new toy in their box: Google Health, which allows you to store and manage your health information in a central location. If you want to know more about it, read About Google Health.

One of the impressive looking features lets you import medical records. There's a page of links to providers of internet-based health records. If you know who has your records, you can set up an account with them and ask them to transfer your records to Google. They're supposed to be your records, after all. The problem for me is that I haven't a clue as to which provider may have my records. I guess my doctor might know.

Another potentially neat feature lets you add your medications to your profile. There are easy-to-use pull-downs for generic and brand name drugs, as well as appropriate selectors for dosage and frequency. All of this is conveniently hyperlinked to drug information sites. While it looks like an encouraging start, however, I'm already disappointed in what it doesn't do. There's a Prescription column that I cannot enter data into or edit. This is where I would hope to be able to put in my pharmacy's prescription number, expiration dates and related information.

Google Health is like a boat-load of lawyers sinking into the ocean: a good start. It's still flawed in the type of information that I would like to be able to put into it, but I'm willing to give it a tentative one thumb up.