Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are transforming healthcare for patients and providers. Mobile medical apps allow patients to take a more active role in their care by supporting education, health tracking, wearables and reminders. Apps also streamline a huge range of tasks – from recording vital signs to updating patient charts – that help hospitals and clinics be more efficient.

While mobile devices support many healthcare functions, the simplest and most common is easy information access. As in other areas of life, smartphones give users instant access to an unimaginable quantity of health-related information.

“The FDA is continuously seeking ways to bring information to consumers in more accessible formats.”

A new addition to this mobile ready medical information is the Food and Drug Administration’s public database of approved brand and generic prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

The FDA has long operated the Drugs@FDA webpage and database. Their release last week of the new Drugs@FDA Express mobile app reflects a growing trend in healthcare – patients and providers now want their medical information mobile.

“Advancing mobile apps that inform people about their health and medical choices represents a significant public health opportunity and is a high priority for the FDA,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD in a statement. “The FDA is continuously seeking ways to bring information to consumers in more accessible formats.”

With the launch of their new mHealth app, the FDA is putting an important source of public information about drugs in an easy-to-use, mobile format. “We hope that by making this important health information more easily accessible we can help empower patients and providers in making their treatment decisions,” said Gottlieb.

The Drugs@FDA Express mobile app is a streamlined version of Drugs@FDA, allowing users to search on their mobile devices for certain product information based on product name, active ingredient or application number using a single search box. Some information (like labeling supplements and approval letters) won’t be available on the app, but can be found on the Drugs@FDA webpage.

The app will also feature the most recent product approvals within seven days, and links to the Drugs@FDA glossary and frequently asked questions. It will also provide contact information for the FDA’s consumer information office, the Division of Drug Information.

The FDA’s new Drugs@FDA Express free mobile app can be downloaded via iTunes and the Google Play store.

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