Novel App for Psychiatric Prescribing

Matthew Lally, MD

Northeastern University – Psychiatrist

Scientific Abstract

Background: The FDA publishes essential prescribing data for all psychiatric medications. The data is critical for the safe use of psychiatric medication. This data includes: black box warnings, risks, indications, monitoring instructions, drug interactions, and available dosages. However, there is too much information to memorize. 

Meanwhile, mental health professionals often have limited time to see patients and make medication decisions. This means that a clinician may not be able to easily access prescribing information that is needed for safe patient care.

In the past 20 years on-line references have become available. Reference books are also still available and are still utilized by clinicians during that patient encounter. However, these take time to use and almost always require financial expenditure. Also these options are text-based; even the current on-line references are text-based. They don’t take advantage of graphical, touch-screen technology that is so mainstream in so many other areas of modern technology use.

Methods: This author used his prior experience programming mobile app psychiatric references (see Mysell Day Poster 2021, 2016) to create a desktop reference app. This app can also be used on mobile and tablets.

The app was designed to be used DURING patient encounters. In psychiatry and primary care, discussion of prescribing options is often done during the appointment. For instance, a patient recall spontaneously that they have been on a prior medication. Or decisions about dosage modification may need to be made during the appointment, as the patient describes recent efficacy, side effects, etc.

The reason this app is designed to be used DURING the appointment is because it has been programmed to be: touch-screen, animated, color-coded, visually fluid, and instantaneously responsive. It does not pause to upload new webpages – it is one complete webpage.

The patient can also view the information and options directly to enhance their engagement in the treatment decision-making, if that is desired.

Additionally, there are citations to articles in the medical/psychiatric literature. These citations are colorful and are interactive “buttons” that link directly to the cited article.

Results: Results have been mixed. On the positive side: the reference app was completed in October 2021. It is now available to the public for use. There was no pharmaceutical industry influence in the design or content. There was no corporate or organization influence of any type. The work is the work of this author alone. There is no user data collection. There is no log in or account.

The reference has been used in 11 countries.

On the negative side, the only evidence is that impact has been limited.

Conclusion: The reference app met its design and user interface goals but there is no evidence it has had significant impact. The author seeks input and feedback from mental health professionals to see if any improvements can be made to this project. Please contact the author at Lally


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Matthew Lally, MD

Principal Investigator

Matthew Lally, MD

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