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University of Saskatchewan research team developing app to read medicine labels

Click to play video: 'USask research team developing a new app for reading non-prescription medicine labels' USask research team developing a new app for reading non-prescription medicine labels
WATCH: University of Saskatchewan researchers are working on a new app that can read and translate text on over the counter drugs – Feb 2, 2020

University of Saskatchewan (U of S) researchers are working on a new app for reading medicine labels.

The smartphone app would allow for a better understanding of the text on non-prescription drug boxes.

“If you look through your camera on your smartphone screen in a standardized way with icons and text you can compare medicines, you can zoom in and out, or you scroll up and down,” said U of S professor and project researcher Debajyoti Mondal. “You make the medicine interactable.

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Developer Alexander Magnus says drug misuse is a common issue.

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He wants to rectify that with the MedGuide app.

“At the heart of it, I just want to actually get a better understanding of the things they are using to make themselves healthier,” Magnus said.

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Health care professionals continue to provide input on how the app can achieve that goal.

“We found there is a pretty big discrepancy with what health care providers really thought was important information and what patients were actually looking at,” said Dr. Brent Thoma, a professor at the university and an emergency physician with the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

“The app was designed using that information to highlight some of that information that might otherwise be overlooked.”

Magnus says the information provided to patients has to be correct before public availability.

“We are giving people medical information that they may potentially be taking this advice,” Magnus said.

“There is a lot of care that needs to be taken to make sure that information that you are giving people is accurate.”

He says the app allows for more accessibility to everyone.

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The team is aiming for the app to launch for public use by the end of 2020.

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