Although the cannabis industry continues to spread across the United States at an accelerated rate, as a recommended course of treatment for certain mental and physical conditions, it is still very much in the clinical trial period. In addition to this lack of comprehensive program data, the fact remains the cannabis industry is a new industry growing at an expedited rate which is often difficult for other supportive industries, such as IT, to keep pace with the demands. The need for the ability to track and record patient data beyond a single dispensary is not without reason; any other industry in the medical field would use an electronic medical record platform (EMRs) to track patient data, yet within the cannabis industry, these platforms are still very much in their initial stages and are not yet gained widespread visibility or popularity.
|The Need for an EMR|
There is undoubtedly a lack of extensive data in regards to using cannabis as a course of treatment for specific maladies. In the United States, the lack of this data to support cannabis as a course of treatment might be seen as a direct cause of the lack of support amongst physicians. Without data to show the short and long-term effects of using cannabis for certain conditions, as well as treatment methods, physicians are hesitant to support and prescribe cannabis as a course of treatment. Physicians have not been trained on the uses (effects of certain strains, dosage, methods of ingestion) of cannabis and this, in turn, has opened a world of opportunity for the IT field. The ability to collect information across multiple health conditions would be invaluable to the cannabis industry, especially with regards to mental health and pain conditions, whose benefits are not easily measured or quantified. Collecting data across the cannabis community and providing it to physicians and clinics in a way which makes sense would help to lessen the gap between both physician and public knowledge as well as the overall acceptance and support of medicinal cannabis.
|Platform Development and Uses|
Knalysis Technologies, based out of New Brunswick, is a platform developed to collect this information with the aim to connect the entire medical marijuana field. They are hoping by working to close the massive technology gaps within the industry, they can further validate the use of cannabis as a treatment for certain mental and physical health conditions. Knalysis has developed three different platforms which work together to empower the physician and beyond.
Analytics Web Portal image is courtesy of Knalysis Technologies.
The Wellness Tracker App, developed for medical cannabis patients, allows patients to track their treatment, see their patterns and make changes as needed. Dispensaries, cultivators, and physicians can collect information through the Analytics Web Portal, which was designed to determine what medical cannabis strains are best suited to specific medical conditions. By uploading their own product list and inviting patients to track their treatment based on the products, the portal collects this information and provides the analytics based on patient feedback. Designed for dispensaries, Knalysis has developed the Cannabis Patient Manager. Recognizing the need to develop and maintain efficient operational practices in this industry, the app manages all patient information in one place; from basic patient data to purchased products and recommended course of treatment.
Most recently, Canadian-based Ehave has partnered with MedReleaf to develop an app also aimed at advancing the study and use of medical cannabis. By using Ehave Connect, Ehave’s mental health informatics platform, the app will seek to validate the use of MedReleaf’s products as treatments for mental health conditions. Cultivators, processors, and prescribers of medical cannabis will be able to monitor treatment plans and verify outcomes, thus further legitimizing the use of medical cannabis.
The development and long-term use of cannabis-specific EMRs is indispensable to the cannabis industry. By providing platforms which track patient diagnosis, treatment, and progress, the cannabis industry is collecting quantitative and qualitative data, both of which can be used to gauge the success of a treatment. With access to this information, it will become easier for physicians to make recommendations for treatment programs as well as ensure production and availability of those products to be used as treatment. In addition to elevating current industry efforts, collecting, analyzing and sharing this data also aids in the overall validity of medical cannabis programs. With these apps, information is readily available to people such as physicians, lawmakers and regulators, and the gap between the unknown and known effects of medical cannabis is becoming smaller and smaller.