BACKGROUND - Adverse drug events are a major safety issue in ambulatory care. Improving medication self-management could reduce these adverse events. Researchers have developed medication applications for tethered personal health records (PHRs), but little has been reported about medication applications for interoperable PHRs.
OBJECTIVE - Our objective was to develop two complementary personal health applications on a common PHR platform: one to assist children with complex health needs (MyMediHealth), and one to assist older adults in care transitions (Colorado Care Tablet).
METHODS - The applications were developed using a user-centered design approach. The two applications shared a common PHR platform based on a service-oriented architecture. MyMediHealth employed Web and mobile phone user interfaces. Colorado Care Tablet employed a Web interface customized for a tablet PC.
RESULTS - We created complementary medication management applications tailored to the needs of distinctly different user groups using common components. Challenges were addressed in multiple areas, including how to encode medication identities, how to incorporate knowledge bases for medication images and consumer health information, how to include supplementary dosing information, how to simplify user interfaces for older adults, and how to support mobile devices for children.
CONCLUSIONS - These prototypes demonstrate the utility of abstracting PHR data and services (the PHR platform) from applications that can be tailored to meet the needs of diverse patients. Based on the challenges we faced, we provide recommendations on the structure of publicly available knowledge resources and the use of mobile messaging systems for PHR applications.