Patient Data Access News

New mHealth Platform Helps Docs Prescribe Patient-Facing Apps

Mount Sinai Health System has launched RxUniverse, helping providers prescribe patient-facing mHealth apps to improve patient experience.

By Sara Heath

Mount Sinai Health System has launched a new platform to allow providers to prescribe patient-facing mHealth apps to help improve patient care, according to a press release.


Providers can assign an app as a part of a patient’s care plan by prescribing it through the RxUniverse platform.

According to Mount Sinai, the platform allows providers to learn more about the apps their patients use, ensuring that they deliver quality healthcare and enhance patient experience.

“Apps have typically been recommended to patients verbally, but with the myriad of mobile health apps on the market, many with no proven evidence, it is a challenge for providers and patients,” said Ashish Atreja, MD, MPH, Chief Technology Innovation and Engagement Officer and Director of the Sinai AppLab.

Research from the Commonwealth Fund supports this assertion. According to a February data brief, less than half of the apps in both the Apple and Android app stores hold promise for effectively improving patient engagement or helping patients manage chronic diseases.

According to Atreja, RxUniverse could help solve this problem. RxUniverse works as a platform that hosts third-party, patient-facing apps. The apps under the platform are reportedly vetted, ensuring that providers only have quality apps to choose from.

The platform may also improve the chances of treatment adherence by officially advising the patient to use a certain app.

“We can actually prescribe them an app very much like we’d prescribe a medication,” Atreja said in an accompanying informational video. “The link to the app gets into the hands of the patient through the smartphone or the email.”

Because providers are actually sending a prescription for the app rather than simply verbally suggesting the tool, it may encourage more patients to use mHealth to stay involved in their care.

According to Bruce Darrow, MD, PhD, Chief Information Officer at Mount Sinai, RxUniverse could help patients and providers better organize multiple treatment paths.

“If I were prescribing a patient four different kinds of medications, I wouldn’t want them to have to go to four different pharmacies to have to fill that,” Darrow said in the video.

“And yet, if we’re prescribing of four different apps, that’s exactly what we’re doing. We’re giving them different icons, we’re giving them a different process. RxUniverse really simplifies that process both for our clinicians and our patients.”

Just as patients with multiple medications might be a part of a medication synchronization program, RxUniverse allows patients to keep multiple mHealth apps under one umbrella platform, potentially helping them to organize their engagement efforts.

Mount Sinai’s RxUniverse is also a part of an industry-wide effort to streamline mHealth use and patient engagement. The platform is a part of the Network of Digital Evidence (NODE), which offers a forum for healthcare experts, digital medicine companies, clinicians, and patients to discuss the state of digital medicine.

“As the pace of innovation in digital medicine accelerates, there will be increasing demand for the ability to quickly integrate new apps into our health care systems,” said Kenneth L. Davis, MD, President and CEO, Mount Sinai Health System.

Mount Sinai is already seeing that demand. RxUniverse, which was launched in a pilot phase in August, 2016, currently has over 2,000 enrolled patients. This is reportedly 20 times the pilot goal for enrollment.

Leaders from Mount Sinai hope to see RxUniverse to continue to grow, potentially helping to serve patients and providers in other health systems across the country.

“Mount Sinai is proud to be at the forefront of digital medicine and dedicated to streamlining the eHealth care delivery model to further our mission to provide world-class care to our patients,” Davis concluded.

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