FDA to create drug interaction alert app

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is scouting for a vendor to create a new smartphone app to track adverse drug reactions to experimental medications, according to a notice released last week.

Called Real-Time Application for Portable Interactive Devices, or RAPID, FDA officials want an app that will capture images of skin reactions, video/audio of patient information, and GPS location of where adverse events took place, for public health mapping.

The agency won't even have a list of vendors until after the Jan. 18 application deadline, but still wants a solid, working app in short order--within a year. Not only that, the vendor will have to have a solid plan to scale the app nationwide before it's finished, Nextgov reports. Even tougher: The app will have to be capable of handling images, medical records and other data streams, and capture up to 4 million reports per year.

Note: The app will start on smartphones--including iPhones, Android and the Blackberry--but a tablet version is expected, as well. The FDA's existing alert system, MedWatch, requires clinicians to log onto a website to record their findings, and accepts information by fax, mail and email, making data collection time-consuming.

The return stream isn't much better, with patients and clinicians alike instructed to go to FDA.gov for more information on emerging problems with drug reactions, such as those experienced with Peramivir during last year's flu outbreak, Nextgov reports.

A mobile app, officials say, would make it easier for emergency clinicians to send in their adverse drug event information. And it will make it simpler for regulators to push alerts and information back out to the public in closer to real time.

To learn more:
- check out the Federal Business Opportunities notice
- read iHealthBeat's coverage
- dig into Nextgov's article