MedWatcher is an app that allows for a two-way flow of drug safety information, where users can track the latest drug safety updates via official alerts from the FDA in addition to informal channels such as the media. Users can also report information about drug side effects and view reports of adverse events submitted to the application by patients and physicians. Users will be able to set up news feeds and alerts for particular drugs and may choose to submit a review as a patient/clinician themselves about adverse events they or their patient may have experienced.

The app was developed by researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston in collaboration with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in an effort to engage health care practitioners and the general public in issues of drug safety. “Our hope is that through the release of MedWatcher, we will prompt increased participation in surveillance, empowering people to participate in the public health process but also potentially allowing us to crowdsource problem drugs which will lead to better understandings of side effects of medicines, and possibly even bring about earlier detection and prevention,” said Clark Freifeld, research software developer at CHIP and one of the co-leaders of development for the app.

Two unique, user-friendly and highly-structured forms were created to support the reporting feature of the app both for clinicians and patients. Reports of serious adverse events are first reviewed by the Children’s Computational Epidemiology Group, and are then submitted to the FDA and displayed in the app. Since the data contained within MedWatcher will be from both official and unofficial sources, users are encouraged to interpret the data appropriately. The aim of the app is to make reporting such events a much easier and more available process for both clinicians, who have previously had to interrupt their workflow to submit such reports, and for patients, who may not have been aware how or where to report adverse events.

Medwatcher has been optimized for the iPHone, iPad, and iPod Touch. The app is available for download free in the iTunes App Store. For more information on MedWatcher, visit:

About The Author

Leigh Delahanty is a Blast staff writer

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