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New Mobile App Brings Health Data to Consumers’ Pockets

The Sunlight Foundation recently debuted a new free mobile app for consumers called Sunlight Health, which helps patients and their families make informed decisions about healthcare services and prescription drug options. Using data from government and nonprofit institutions, the app covers three categories: healthcare facilities, medical suppliers, and prescription drugs.

From their iPhone or Android, users can search for government ratings on local hospitals and nursing homes, find nearby locations to purchase home medical supplies, and research prescription drug options. Sunlight makes no claim on being an expert on healthcare; users are encouraged to confer with a medical professional and use discretion when consulting Sunlight Health.

Sunlight Health includes searchable information in the following categories:

Facilities: Using a phone’s geolocation feature or by entering a zip code, users can search for nearby hospitals, nursing homes, dialysis centers, and home healthcare providers. Using data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Hospital Compare database, users can view ratings for facilities, details on the quality of care and patient services, and what coverage is provided for Medicare and Medicaid recipients.

Suppliers: Using a phone’s geolocation feature or by entering a zip code, users can search for local sellers of commonly used home medical supplies. From canes and walkers to orthopedic shoes or blood glucose monitors, the app will provide the contact information and supplies sold at the listed merchant. Data are provided by the Hospital Compare database.

Drugs: Using data from Consumer Reports’ Best Buy Drugs ratings project, users can research information on drugs prescribed by their doctor. Simply search by drug name or class and Sunlight Health provides a cost comparison of the name brand and generic version (if applicable), information about its drug class, and other chemicals in that drug class.

— Source: Sunlight Foundation