Friday, January 7, 2011


This week there has been a lot of buzz about the new EpiPen app for smartphones, IPads, and the like.  I thought that I would give it a try.

MyEpiPenApp is a free app from the makers of EpiPen.  For those not familiar with the EpiPen, it is a self-injection epinephrine "pen".  It is designed as a first-response for those with severe allergic reactions or anaphalaxis.  You can read more about the EpiPen on

A tweet linked to a blog (Allergy Notes) lead me to this app and outlined what it does.  While I could imagine the possibilities for an app of this sort, I wasn't sure how friendly or helpful it would be for users.  Here is what I found:

  1. Uses:  MyEpiPenApp is a great way to quickly share information regarding you or your child's allergies.  It can be easily pulled up and quickly emailed.  I like the fact that the app allows you to send general info about the EpiPen or specific information about the allergic person's needs.  Once an email is formed, you then have the opportunity to adjust the email to meet your specific needs before sending it.  I think that moms and caregivers will find this app very beneficial in keeping up with allergy records of students, friends, children and themselves.
  2. Profile:  The app allows you to develop profiles specific to each person's needs.  It allows you to input their name, attach a picture, list their allergies and the types of reactions that they have.  A list of reactions and allergens is supplied along with the option of adding more to meet individual needs.  While this is a critical part of the app, I found it a bit uncomfortable to use.  To find the allergies or reactions, you must click on each word to make it scroll.  If an individual has only a few allergies, this may not be an issue, but for a person with multiple allergies and reactions, it was bothersome to "click, click, click".  With touch screens becoming common, it would be nice to have one that had a rolling scroll.  I found that while "clicking", the scroll would occasionally roll the entire profile.  I also noticed that if I want to view one of my profiles, I must click "Edit" and scroll through the profile.  I would like to view my profile in an easier to read version that the "Edit" version.  I need to be able to do a rolling scroll then choose edit if I need to alter something.
  3. Sharing:  Sharing profiles and the User Guide is simple and quick.  On the home page, you input an email address then choose what you would like to send:  only the user guide or individual profiles.  The email recipient will receive an email listing information from the users profile, precautions, safety information, and a link to a user guide.  The user guide is a simple 1-2-3 of  injecting the Epipen then calling 911.   
  4. Other Info:  The applicaiton does not only allow you make and share information specific to one patient, but also provides user information to the allergic person.  MyEpiPenApp contains the User Guide, a "How-to-Use" video and safety information.  This information is available through the app or on the website.  However, the app falls short by not allowing users to share the video along with the other information or provide a link to the video via the email.
While I will use this app and the benefits are too many to mention, there are still many areas for improvement and expansion.  I would like to see this app allow people to not only specify allergens and reactions but make notes about anything that a caretaker or medical professional might need to know.  I would like to be able to indicate potential language that a caretaker might hear from my child and more clearly indicate medicines that may cause an allergic reaction so that medical professionals may quickly know what to avoid.  It would also be nice to have a place where emergency numbers could listed such as emergency contacts, doctors or medications currently taken.  I would like to be able to share the "How-to" video along with the user guide but this can be remedied with a link.  The only other short-coming that I can see is that I can not easily view profiles.  I would like a touch-screen rolling scroll in a view-only, easy-to-read mode that then allows me to choose "Edit" if I need to adjust a profile.  The view mode would be critical for medical professionals who need to quickly access info about a patients.  Finally, although not essential, I would like to see the addition of an alarm allowing users to input a specific med (inhalers, EpiPens etc) and the date in which it expires.  The alarm would sound when it is time for us to replace the medications.

I believe that these changes are essential to the usability for patients with multiple allergies and reactions.  With time, I know that this app will find its place among users and medical professionals.  The usability and options will increase, shaping and molding itself along with the mobile industry.  I am glad to know that an app like this is available.  I will use this app often despite its current shortcomings.  I praise the makers of the EpiPen for creating such a useful, free app.  Technology has helped those of with allergies better manage our condition.  Thank you EpiPen!  You are always with me, now more than ever.


  1. Did you send that to the author of the app and to EpiPen? They make changes and upgrade to the apps all the time... Great article

  2. glad you enjoyed the article. I posted the link on a post about the app but haven't sent it to EpiPen yet...will do that. Thanks.