By: Danielle Jones, MS3
Providers in a number of different healthcare fields and specialties are often asked about a medication’s safety for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. In the past, the answer to this question was often found by referencing various books and hoping the drug in question was included and the data was up-to-date, but not anymore.
The InfantRisk Center mobile resource, a product out of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center’s InfantRisk Center (IRC), is an app targeted towards healthcare providers who need quick access to reliable and up-to-date information on the use of various medications by their pregnant or breastfeeding patients.
In recent years the InfantRisk Center has established itself as a reliable, evidenced-based resource for business-hours access to this type of information and, as such, a mobile app providing 24/7 access was much anticipated by those familiar with their services — their latest product does not disappoint.
The IRC app is jam-packed with information on both prescription and non-prescription drugs and has a layout and graphic design to appease even the most meticulous of software developers. The app is easy to use and on first use has a nice tutorial explaining the various features and safety ratings.
The content in the app is based on information from the most recent edition of Medication and Mothers’ Milk by Thomas W. Hale, R.Ph., Ph.D., a well-respected leading expert in human lactation pharmacology. The information base is broad, but not completely comprehensive, so occasionally a less-common drug will not show up when searched for.
After completing the tutorial, a quick glance of the homepage provides a good overview of the app with easy-to-find access to everything from drug searches to news topics associated with pregnancy and breastfeeding. The app has a modern user interface with well-placed complimentary colors and self-explanatory information and feature placement.
The search function is handy, allowing for searches by keyword, drug name or condition, as well as providing a browsing mode to scroll through all the medications in the app. The comprehensive browsing mode is organized by the first letter of each drug’s name and is relatively self-explanatory.
It would be nice to see the traditional iPhone organization with a small alphabetical listing on the right side of the screen to easily switch between letters, but getting back to the alphabetical list is relatively uncomplicated. The app is good about bringing up a drug’s generic name when you search for a brand name, it’d be nice if the generic listings had a section in their description with names the drug is marketed under.
The rating scale is well thought out and easy to interpret. It is explained in the tutorial described earlier, but the explanation is also easily re-accessed by tapping the information “I” in the top right corner of the home page. Although it’s obvious the ratings correspond to traditional FDA Use-In-Pregnancy ratings, it’d be nice if the exact correspondence were included in the scale descriptions provided by the app.
The ability to see information based on stage of pregnancy by trimester or age of breastfeeding child for each individual drug is extremely useful in clinical situations.
The app also offers quick access to the InfantRisk Center’s hotline for questions, a “Hot Topics” section, a personalized search function, as well as the ability to bookmark frequently used drugs and information for easy-access in the future.
- Layout & Graphic Design
- Comprehensive, Evidence-Based Database
- Easy Access to the Developing Center for Questions
- Lack of Brand Name Information on Generic Drug Pages
- Occasionally Missing a Drug
- No Sidebar Access to Other Letters in Browse Function
- This app has potential to be a leading mobile reference for evidenced-based information regarding medication use in pregnant and breastfeeding women.
- The layout, ease of use, extensive database of reliable information and superbly organized rating scale make up for the apps few shortcomings.
- For providers who frequently or even occasionally interact with pregnant or breastfeeding women this app could be a very valuable, frequently used resource.