EMDEX (Essential Medicines Index) is the most used source of drug information amongst healthcare professionals in Nigeria. Information provided by EMDEX includes but are not limited to indications, dosages (across the different age groups), advice to patients, possible interactions, list of brands and strengths available in Nigeria. EMDEX is updated annually to accommodate new drugs.
What then is the purpose of this redesign?
As a community pharmacist, I cannot underestimate the importance of having a reliable source of drug information — from indications to doses and also checking for the available brands of drugs in Nigeria.
According to my survey, the most used source of information includes the internet, Medscape (app), WebMD (app), textbooks and hard copies of the EMDEX and BNF. Only a few participants were aware that EMDEX has a mobile app, the few who were aware pointed out some interesting things about the current version of the app.
- While Medscape and other sources are widely used, there are certain limitations these apps have here in Nigeria — these apps do not include brands that are locally available neither do they put into consideration herbal drugs. Drugs such as Gbomoro, Funmilayo, and several others would not be included in the Medscape as these are not available in the country where the app originates from.
- Hard copies of EMDEX is another source of information — this is limiting as Healthcare professionals would have to buy a new edition of the EMDEX annually to keep up with drug information relating to Nigeria, some have even given up and have refused to buy the newer versions as they have a stockpile of previously released editions.
EMDEX has a huge library of drug information and is also approved by professional bodies in Nigeria and even by WHO, it is the most trustworthy source of drug information.
Personally, the version of EMDEX I have is the 2016–2017 edition and this is 2020. This means that the edition I use is very outdated and will not include drugs that have been added after that edition was published, for this reason, the mobile app would have been the best place to get updated information about drugs but to my amusement, only a few professionals and students are aware of the EMDEX mobile app.
The ratings and reviews both in the App Store and Playstore give me an idea of how the app has been accepted
Due to the absence of time for a one on one interview, I created a google form to help with the survey and there were pretty interesting responses. The survey was carried out with 49 participants from different sectors — Doctors, Pharmacists, Interns, Pharmacy students, Medical students. I also ensured to include participants with over 10 years of experience so I could capture information across different years of experience.
65.3% admitted to knowing that EMDEX has a mobile app while the rest (34.7%) either said they were not aware of the app or have never even heard of EMDEX. For the sake of this redesign, I would be focusing on those who were aware of the app.
From my evaluation, I identified the following problems which would form the goal of my redesign.
- Poorly designed and clumsy UI: the overall UI looks outdated.
- Poorly designed navigation
- The search option is not intuitive enough as users would still have to select what category of information they would like to search from. The search should be unified in such a way that it searches from all categories without needing any form of specificity. Users should not have to switch the search from Brand to Generic or Indication.
- Redundant elements: an example is the sliding carousel that appears constantly on the home screen with no new information.
- Drugs by class and by indication could use a search option as it is much of an inconvenience to scroll through a long list of drug classes or indication.
- Security: while the app contains no personal information, security should be highly considered as all I needed to log back into my account was my phone number (no OTP was sent)
From the research, I was able to create the following personas:
Improved design — Wireframe
I redesigned the home screen to look more modern and functional compared to the current design. I also redesigned the carousel section, imputing a section which shows live and updated information about current trends (in the healthcare sector).
This project was carried out as a personal project and for this reason, I would stop here except if the company reaches out — you could reach me via my Twitter.