St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust (SWLSTG) and pharmacy enterprises of South West London have collaborated to develop a mobile application to facilitate safe prescribing, administering and monitoring of lithium.

In 2013, South West London and SWLSTG was awarded a grant of £30,000 by South West London Academic, Health and Social Care System for three key projects.

The projects include the application for lithium medicine management to support service users in South West London.

The medical enterprises worked with mobile technology developer Incentivated, who understands the fundamentals of the health sector, to develop the application.

Lithium Carbonate, commonly referred to as lithium in the UK, is the most commonly used medication to treat bipolar disorder.

"The application seeks to extend their range of functionalities from lithium medicine management to a broader range of medicines."

However, to render efficacy to lithium, the dosage requires strict administration. Patients are required to have their lithium blood level checked every three months. Their kidney and thyroid functions need to be checked every six months.

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In addition, patients who are to be administered with lithium medication are required to undergo a full annual health check with their respective healthcare provider. In order to receive a supply of lithium from a hospital or community pharmacy, patients require records of an up to date blood level result.

The application was developed to address the changing preference of patients who want the option of recording information in an electronic format, rather than a paper booklet.

The application seeks to extend their range of functionalities from lithium medicine management to a broader range of medicines. It will help patients and health advisers to monitor and administer additional medicines and acts a useful tool for other healthcare trusts with similar needs.

Supported by Bipolar UK members, the application has various services which includes recording lithium treatment and levels, creating a reminder for a health check using a calendar function, as well as record health check results at recommended intervals.

Image: The lithium app. Photo: courtesy of SWLSTG.