Evaluation of Medication Prescribing Applications Available in Australia

Riya Amin, Melissa Cato, Sasha Rahavi, Tran Kristin, Kenneth Lee, Elton Lobo, Deanna Mill, Amy Theresa Page, Sandra Salter

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Prescription request applications (apps) have changed the way consumers can obtain prescription-only medications. However, there is a lack of research surrounding such apps and their potential risks to consumers. We conducted an Australian study to (1) identify and characterise prescription request apps available in Australia and (2) assess whether prescription request apps in Australia adhere to guidelines for safe prescribing. Three online platforms (iOS App Store, Google Play store and Google search engine) were searched using 14 different search terms. Prescription request apps were identified based on pre-defined inclusion criteria. To determine whether the prescription request apps adhere to a safe prescribing framework, five medications were selected, and their corresponding consultation questionnaires were assessed against the Australian National Prescribing Service MedicineWise 12 core competencies for safe prescribing. A total of seven prescription request apps were identified. Assessment of the prescription request apps revealed that none of the apps provided prescribers with sufficient information to meet all the competencies required for safe prescribing; rather, they inconsistently adhered to the safe prescribing framework. Thus, consumers and healthcare professionals should consider the implications and safety concerns of obtaining medications via prescription request apps.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2023

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