Advantages: Free, drug-price comparison website, navigation was user-friendly, iPhone/iPad versions
Disadvantages: Shapes were ambiguous and required guessing
4. WebMD Pill Identifier
Advantages: Free, online and iPhone/iPad access, first database resources
Disadvantages: Blinking pop-up ads were not user-friendly
5. ID My Pill
Advantages: Users can take pictures of tablets instead of entering information. Attractive interface
Disadvantages: Cost: $4.99, not accurate
None of the applications were flawless. My favorites were Drugs.com, Epocrates, and GoodRx which are designed for the iPhone and iPad. The Drugs.com application was very user-friendly and easy to navigate. The applications did not take a long time to load and were very easy to use. Both Drugs.com and Epocrates apps provided drug information, including dosage instructions, interactions, side-effects, and warnings. Pictures of tablets included images of pills from different manufacturers. The information retrieved for prescription pills included the correct dosages and tablets that I was looking for. However, when I tested the OTC medication database, both applications pulled up a variety of tablets and not the correct acetaminophen pill.
The concept of GoodRx is to provide the patients and professionals with convenient and affordable prescription drugs. GoodRx has built a clean interface that is easy to use and has different features built in. However, the pill shape categories (bullet, clover, trapezoid) used in the GoodRx app were ambiguous and required guessing.
WebMD’s Pill Identification app was very wordy and not easy to navigate through because of blinking pop-up ads. WebMD provided users with commonly abused drugs and the image and drug names. Also, WebMD had a portion of the site dedicated to prescription drug abuse and how dangerous these medications are.
ID My Pill was an application that seemed very promising because it only required the user to take a picture of the tablet and submit. But at the cost of $4.99 it was not worth the price because it only identified one of the pills correctly and search results were a vast array of incorrect pills.
These applications are a step in the right direction for healthcare because they empower all of us to be advocates for our own health. Consumers can protect themselves against errors and understand the medication and dosages being administered. Even though technology is at the tip of our hands and improving over time it is still very important to confirm that the information we receive from applications and websites is accurate information. These tools are for information and education and do not replace advice from healthcare professionals. It is important to always consult your pharmacist with medication related questions. As good as these applications are, if you’re uncertain about a pill, check with a pharmacist or call the Poison Help Hotline at 1-800-222-1222.