New York, NY — One of the few places we still get homework as adults is the doctor’s office. Whether it’s scheduling some lab work or trying out a new exercise routine, there’s almost always more to be done.

According to Manhattan Research, 80% of doctors add a little reading to your to-do list by recommending a website – by URL or category – where you can learn more about a treatment or complementary care.

Increasingly, that website to read is becoming an app to download.

There are two specific shifts powering the AppRx trend: Access and Accuracy.

Access: Screens are increasingly showing up at the point of care. Thanks to EMR and iPads. EMR brings laptops and hybrid computer/tablets to the exam room for detailed patient tracking and immediate transactions with payers and pharmacies. iPads – especially the mini – are a physician’s more personal reference tool, tucked in a pocket or under an arm, and used for clinical reference and show and tell.

Having these screens handy makes it easy for physicians to not only recommend apps, but also to demo them – showing patients the best way to derive value from the helpful tools.

We wrote more about the growing desire to share screens in GSW’s third annual digital trends report:

2013 digital trends for healthcare from iQ an innovation lab of inVentiv Health Communications.

Accuracy: The bigger drivers may be accuracy and trust, derived from the ability to objectively determine if an app is valuable. A few years ago, the FDA established guidelines for apps that work with or act like medical devices. That small category of apps is reviewed with careful rigor to make sure that they work as well as – or better than – their more traditional counterparts.

Private companies have gone farther – creating evaluation standards and searchable libraries for all kinds of health apps. Happtique is one company that does both:

Tests and certifies apps: Its Health App Certification Program (HACP) is intended to help healthcare providers and consumers easily identify medical, health and fitness apps that deliver credible content, contain safeguards for user data and function as described.

Makes it easier for doctors to “prescribe”: Its mRx Mobile Health Platform allows healthcare professionals to “prescribe” apps to patients with the touch of a button. Instead of getting a prescription to fill at the pharmacy, an email with a secure link to download the prescribed app is sent directly to the patient.

Posted by: Leigh Householder

About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for shaping the company’s perspective on the next era of healthcare marketing. Through thought leadership, strategic innovation workshops and new products and capabilities, Leigh focuses on identifying marketing approaches that will fuel that new era and generate significant growth for clients. Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for over 17 years. She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she had several leadership roles at one of our agencies, GSW. There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business. Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes. A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice, Leigh also was recognized as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.