App eases patient-doctor communication during office visit

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A new free mobile app from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality aims to help patients prepare questions for their next physician appointment.

The app, called QuestionBuilder, then helps the patient through the questions during the visit to ensure the conversation with the doctor is meaningful and informative.

AHRQ director Gopal Khanna has downloaded the app and will use it during his next appointment. “Spending just a couple minutes with the app before an appointment can maximize the time you spend with your provider at a medical encounter and help you get an accurate and understandable diagnosis quickly,” “he writes in a blog posting.

Following its launch, the app reached the No. 3 spot for new medical apps in Google Play, and it was in the top 100 free medical apps worldwide in the Apple App stores.

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The app is elegant in its simplicity, with a user interface that is straightforward and replaces a tool previously developed by n AHRQ that was available in paper and web-based formats, Khanna said. “My expectations are high as AHRQ explores the power of digital healthcare.” To use the app, enter the time and place of an upcoming appointment, then follow prompts to develop questions for the appointment.

“After saving the information or emailing it to yourself, you can use it as a reference right there in the exam room,” Khanna explained.

AHRQ also recently sponsored a challenge competition for innovators to develop an app capable of collecting standardized patient-reported outcomes, launched a new challenge to develop innovative presentations of community-level information on social determinants of health, and another program to develop a model using predictive analytics to estimate hospitalization rates.

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