Parents providing care at home for a child with complex health needs estimated they spend an average of 3.4 hours administering medicine a day
Medicines for Children, which first launched as a website in 2009, provides parents and carers with independently endorsed information and instructional videos on paediatric medicines and their administration. More than 3 million people accessed the website last year.
In the past decade we've received many requests from parents and carers for a mobile app. The three Medicines for Children partners, RCPCH, Neonatal and Paediatric Pharmacists Group (NPPG) and children’s charity WellChild, agreed to develop an app with support from Comic Relief’s ‘Tech For Good’ programme.
Over the past ten months, we've worked with Manchester-based social tech agency, Reason Digital, to create this app.
Insight from families
Through WellChild, we consulted with more than 200 families who care for children with complex health conditions. They shared their experiences of how they manage routines and give medicines at home.
The families told us the most challenging aspects of medicines management were:
- 55% - Acting as coordinator in sharing medicines records between health professionals
- 45% - Coordinating the multiple carers looking after my child's medicines
- 28% - Finding adequate information on children's medicines
- 26% - Not having a well designed and accurate medications chart / plan to work from
They also said that over a 12-month period, they had an average of 11 errors or 'near miss events', including:
- Missed or miscalculated medicines
- Wrong or mistakenly prescribed medicines
- Incorrectly labelled medicines
- Running out before next prescription is due
- Out of date/expired medicines
- Miscommunication between caregivers
- Misreading medicines charts
What happens next
The first version of the app is now ready for launch and testing by a select group of parents. This intensive testing will last several months to ensure the app functions as planned and suits families' needs.
This first version is limited in scope, but it includes the functions that parents and carers told us were the most important. We have planned more features for future versions.
After testing, we will update and launch the app to the wider public, and build and release more functions by end 2019.
Thanks to Comic Relief and ‘Tech for Good’, we have been able to turn our idea into reality. We are excited to produce a new digital tool we know will be of great benefit to families who need our support.