Apps, International

US app launched to prepare patients for medical visits

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has launched a new app to help patients prepare for medical visits.

The Question Builder app, available at no charge for smartphones, tablets, and laptop computers on iTunes and Google Play helps patients prepare and organise questions and other helpful information prior to medical visits.

The Question Builder app is the latest consumer resource from AHRQ, the Federal agency dedicated to improving patient safety and quality in healthcare. Based on content from an online tool that is part of AHRQ’s long-running Questions Are the Answer public education campaign, the Question Builder app was developed with input from consumers and clinicians. Consumers liked the ability to have questions and other information at their fingertips during medical visits, while doctors, nurses, and other clinicians said that better prepared patients would lead to more effective and efficient visits and potentially more accurate diagnoses and better outcomes.

Gopal Khanna, Director, AHRQ said “AHRQ’s new question builder app helps patients and providers get the most out of each and every patient visit by using information to achieve the best outcomes for patients. As Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has made clear, we must create a healthcare system that pays for value. Nothing is more valuable than maximising the time patients and providers spend together.”

The Question Builder app allows users to input details of their upcoming appointments, such as date and reason for the visit. Users then choose questions they want to ask their doctor, starting with a list to prompt them with questions that are common in different situations. Questions can be customized to fit individual needs. Users can email information to themselves or others for reference through the app and can use it to make notes during the medical visit. Other features include:

  • Content and questions organised by type of medical encounter, such as medical visit or preparing for surgery.
  • Consumer education materials and videos about the importance of asking questions and sharing information.
  • A camera option that allows users to document visual information such as a skin rash, upload insurance or prescription medication information, and other photo-enabled features.

Information entered into the Question Builder app resides on the user’s own device.

With most U.S. medical visits averaging 20 minutes or less, the Question Builder app helps patients maximise the value of the time they have with their healthcare providers.