Vaccines can prevent millions of cases of infectious diseases each year. However, many parents nowadays are reluctant regarding immunization, refusing to have their children vaccinated.
Due to false information and unscientific claims found on websites, blogs, and message boards, many parents believe that the vaccinations posses a great risk for their children's health.
But, the truth is opposite. Refusing the vaccination is what puts their children at risk, and not only them but all others who are not immune.
The decline in vaccination rate has contributed to outbreaks of preventable diseases in the developed world, particularly measles and pertussis (whooping cough), which are both highly contagious. Things may be even worse if this trend continues, meaning that we might see diseases we thought we'd never see again.
Increased education about vaccines and immunization from reputable sources is necessary in order to increase vaccination rates and prevent future outbreaks.
There are many guidelines available online, as well as in a form of mobile apps intended for both healthcare providers and parents.
We already reviewed a couple of these apps, such as CDC Vaccine Schedules app, a mobile immunization scheduler for medical providers, and Vaccines on the Go app, which provides parents with accurate information about the science, safety, and importance of vaccines.
ReadyVax app we review today is developed by Emory University with a goal to provide information regarding vaccines, vaccine-preventable diseases, and vaccine safety for healthcare providers (physicians and pharmacists) and patients (parents).
The app allows healthcare providers and the general public to quickly access the most up-to-date information based on current published evidence from scientific literature needed to make informed vaccination decisions.
The app opens to the screen where the users will be asked to select their user role, i.e. Patient/Parent, Provider, or Pharmacist. User role can be changed at any time by typing on Menu icon and selecting the role.
I've noticed that there's no particular difference in the content no matter which role has been chosen. But, it's advised that you choose the one that suits you the most.
After selecting the role, ReadyVax app will open to the app's main screen featuring four sections, including Vaccines & Diseases, Alerts & Updates, Common Questions, and Resource Information.
As its name suggests, Vaccines & Diseases section provides information about different vaccines and common diseases they treat. This section is divided into two tabs, one showing vaccines, the other diseases listed alphabetically.
Tapping on vaccination would open a new page showing information about the vaccine, including overview, safety, who should receive it, recommended schedule, and brand information that also contains links to resources about the particular vaccine.
Diseases tab provide brief overview information about a particular disease, with a link to a preventative vaccine (in vaccines tab).
Both vaccines and diseases tabs also contain educational videos that link to YouTube.
The only section that contains different content for providers, pharmacists, and patients is Alerts & Updates. However, some of the content still applies to all roles. This section contains the guidelines with brief overview and links to vaccine information in the app and additional information on respectable websites.
Although the app claims that the information is the most up-to-date, you'd notice that the most content in this section dates back to 2015.
Common Questions section contains, as it names suggests, the common questions about vaccines and immunization that parents may ask their providers. Providers can also use this section to better provide the information to their patients (pediatric, adult, and geriatric).
The last section in the app is Resource Information that contains the list of useful resources, such as Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases, ACIP, Institute for Vaccine Safety, AAP, and more. There is a brief information about each resource with a link that leads to resource websites.
Besides mobile app, ReadyVax is also available as a website, which contains two additional sections that aren't available in the app, Personal Immunization Tracker that contains immunization scheduler and Adverse Events, which is causality tool, currently under development, that may become available to assist healthcare professionals to assess the causality of adverse events after immunization.
I understand that placing Adverse Events tool would be a risk, despite the clear and concise disclaimer about its use, because patients also use the app, while this tool is intended only for the use of healthcare professionals.
However, Personal Immunization Tracker would be more than welcome addition to the app, allowing patients/parents to track their immunization schedule.
ReadyVax app is mostly textual based. The videos provided in the Vaccines & Disease section don't open in the app, so they can't be considered the app's multimedia.
Overall, ReadyVax is a good app that disseminates information about a variety of vaccines and diseases to healthcare providers and general audience. In addition, it provides informational alerts and updates, which aren't the most up-to-date as the app creators claim.
Still, ReadyVax is a good and useful addition to the family of other similar vaccination apps. Currently, it is only available on iOS, but the Android version is also planned.
Benefit: Physicians, pharmacists, and parents/patients may benefit from the information provided in this app