Mount Sinai launches RxUniverse, a system-wide platform to prescribe medical apps

By Heather Mack
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Mount Sinai Health System in New York has launched an enterprise-wide platform for doctors to prescribe mobile health apps directly to patients.

Developed by researchers at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine, the RxUniverse features a curated list of apps – pulled from the thousands of health apps available to consumers today – that have already been evaluated for their efficacy based on published literature. The platform, designed within the school’s Sinai App Lab, aims to address the lack of standardized methodology for physicians to both ascertain which apps would best benefit their patients, and subsequently share with them directly.

“Apps have typically been recommended to patients verbally, but with the myriad of mobile health apps on the market, many with no proven evidence, it is a challenge for providers and patients,” Dr. Ashish Atreja, CTO and Engagement Officer and Director at the Sinai App Lab, said in a statement. “RxUniverse allows physicians and other healthcare providers to seamlessly and confidently integrate evidence-based digital health tools into their practice.

RxUniverse integrates as a feature to the patient’s EHR, and once clinicians open the patient’s electronic file, they can click on the RxUniverse function to digitally prescribe an app through a link that is sent to the patient’s smartphone. The platform also features specifically tailored educational content, patient satisfaction surveys and other digitally-prescribed tools.

“As the pace of innovation in digital medicine accelerates, there will be increasing demand for the ability to quickly integrate new apps into our health care system,” Mount Sinai’s CEO and President Dr. Kenneth L. Davis said in a statement. “Mount Sinai is proud to be at the forefront of digital medicine and dedicated to streamlining the eHealth care delivery model to further our mission to provide world-class care to our patients.”

The RxUniverse platform was piloted this summer at five clinical areas at Mount Sinai with the goal of prescribing 100 apps. Since then, participating clinicians have prescribed more than 2,000 apps. Because of the success, the Sinai App Lab partnered with Mount Sinai Innovation partners to launch a new startup company called Responsive Health that will license the RxUniverse platform so it can be used by other health systems.

“It’s really groundbreaking when we use a technology platform that really brings ideas together,” said Mount Sinai’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Darrow in a video about the platform. “If I’m prescribing a patient four different medications, I wouldn’t want them to have to go to four different pharmacies, and yet, that’s exactly what we are doing when we prescribe them four different apps – we’re giving them different icons, we’re giving them a different process, and RxUniverse really simplifies that for both patients and physicians.”

The platform is part of a larger ecosystem supported by the Sinai App Lab called the Network of Digital Evidence, which connects healthcare innovation centers around the world via a community forum for technology experts, digital medicine tech companies, clinicians and patients.