FDA Looking Into Use of Technology Tools To Help People Self-Diagnose, Obtain Medications


FDA is considering whether consumers should be able to use online questionnaires, patient kiosks or other technologies to conduct self-screenings and obtain certain medications that currently require prescriptions

Experts say such technology could allow FDA to make certain drugs used to treat conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma and migraines available over-the-counter.

In an iHealthBeat Special Report by Kelly Wilkinson, experts discussed the potential use of technology to help expand the number of medications available without a prescription. The Special Report includes comments from:

  • Marcie Bough, director of Federal Regulatory Affairs at the American Pharmacists Association;
  • Charles Daniels, professor of clinical pharmacy and pharmacist-in-chief at the University of California-San Diego; and
  • Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, general internist and chair-elect of the American Medical Association's council on science and public health (Wilkinson, iHealthBeat, 4/18).

The complete transcript of this Special Report is available as a PDF.

Robert Chan
While "interoperability, meaningful use, and a dictionary full" ... of other nice terms can not overcome the great diversity of education, comprehension, language barriors, and non-seamless communication continuity between various sub-population makes for a potential high % of misdiagnosis of even the most basic of conditions. Map that to the great challenges in accurate and appropriate therapeutic dosing do to patient co-morbidities, concurrent therapies, adverse drug reactions ... etc etc etc. While technologies are interesting and clearly can support an advanced clinical care model ... but will a kiosk really create a therapy strategy and plan of "self treatment". In my practice, I see patients increasingly getting less quality advice and dialogue from their medical professionals and leaving the clinic unclear and often confused. I'm unclear how a kiosk will improve care when above is so widely prevalent. Yes, I am pro this technology but I believe we are also naive.
Kel Mohror
Kiosks that enable "self-screenings and obtain certain medications that currently require prescriptions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma and migraines available over-the-counter" would foster engaging patients in quality-of-care improvements. Interoperability mediated by an HIE between kiosks, the EHR, and the patient portal and/or PHR would also streamline the coordination of care as all parties would "be on the same page." Patient education functionality in kiosks, if connected to IBM Watson for Healthcare systems would assist a patient with decision-making while simultaneously alerting the PCP to a patient concern and potential questions that may be forth-coming. Clearly interoperability is the "Holy Grail" needed to achieve "meaningful use" and can't happen soon enough.

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