According to the Manhattan Research firm, there are approximately 1,500 apps for health care professionals alone. In 2009 doctors owning smart phones surge 64% from the year before. That same year the number of physicians owning iPhones doubled. It estimates that by 2012, 81% of doctors will have smart phones with medical apps installed. This market continues to flourish with many useful medical mobile apps flying off the virtual iTunes shelf every day. The creative and invaluable apps offered leave the health industry and even health insurance brokers in perpetual awe. Worth noting is that most of these health apps are not regulated by the FDA, but this may soon change. Below is a list of the top mobile applications for physicians and medical professionals.
Epocrates Rx is a clinical reference application that provides information on drug, disease, lab, and drug safety for physicians at the point of care. The mobile app displays drug images that feature a multitude of information including directions, side effects, etc… alongside the image. A unique feature is the multicheck whereby the software is able to give information on the adverse effects of the interactions of a patient’s drug cocktail. Another feature is the ability for the medical mobile app to identify the drug given the doctor’s description of the medication (i.e. color, pill shape, and etc.). Epocrates also offers a CME credits program on the medical iPhone app where everything from studying to taking the exams are done at the doctor’s finger tips without any traveling hassle, not to mention that all work is saved and tracked via the web app.
Compatibility: iPhone, Palm, Windows Mobile, Blackberry, and Android
Price: Four versions offered ranging from the free Epocrates Rx to Epocrates Essentials Deluxe, which costs $199 on a one year contract and $299 on the two year contract. Group discounts are available.
Medscape, which is part of WebMD, is similar in features to Epocrates Rx, except Medscape touts an extensive library of clinical and drug references and it offers video to its portfolio of offerings.
Compatibility: iPhone only for now but Blackberry coming soon
Medcalc is, you guessed it, a medical calculator. The mobile app supports US and SI units. The iPhone app is able to compute medical formulas. The physician or medical staff can search for formulas based on name or keyword. They can look up a list of recently viewed formulas and they can archive favorite equations.
Medical Lab Tests provides a quick reference to normal lab values of common clinical lab tests. It offers a concise reference to over 100 blood tests. Both search and recently viewed features are accessible. The reference values are in US and SI units.
Dr. Rounds is a health mobile app that allows doctors to keep patient records all in a pocket size piece of hardware. This tool keeps track of visits, diagnosis, procedures, service rendered, as well as helps physicians stay on top of their billing so that no patient is left unaccounted for. The purpose of the iPhone app is to remove the paperwork from the doctor’s daily rounds and support patients more effectively and efficiently with many advance capabilities such as search, archiving, emailing, and even data sharing.
Drug Trials gives doctors and health professionals information about clinical trials around a disease or illness. It even brings up Google Map to provide them with locations of where these clinical trials are taking place and also offers bookmarking capabilities. Additionally, it provides eligibility criteria and even emailing capabilities.
Blausen Human Atlas provides 3D animation in video and imagery form to help physicians communicate effectively with patients at the point of care. It is easier to show someone something, rather than tell them and this does just that. This mobile application offers several features: 3D animation (360 rotation) that physicians can zoom in and out of, video, still images, and a searchable medical glossary that they can cross reference to related animation and images. Unfortunately, an internet connection is required to view the videos, medical glossary, and still images. This app is offered in 10 different languages.
Xprompt Multilingual Assistance is a translation tool to enable physicians and medical staff to communicate with their patients in situations where a translator is not present or a family member is unable to translate. The mobile app comes pre-installed in German, English, and Spanish. Features offered include gestures, supporting communication, a general dictionary, and more. Health professionals can favorite phrases. Translations are shown and spoken through the iPhone audio. Two sign languages in German and British are offered in video format.
Price: $3.99 with three languages pre-installed. Additional $2.99 per language (22 languages available, 50 more languages in the works)
For the OB-GYN
Airstrip OB is essentially a mobile health monitoring system. More specifically it is a portable ICU monitor that tracks the mother-to-be and fetus’s waveform data which includes heart rate, temperature, blood pressure, maternal contraction patterns, and any other vital signs all in real time during a woman’s labor. Information is transferred from the hospital monitoring system to the obstetrician and gynecologist’s and nurse’s mobile phones. This allows the OB-GYN and nurses to remotely keep an eye on the mother-to-be anywhere and anytime. Other information that’s provided in the medical mobile app includes the woman’s documentation like current medication, allergies, lab work, and notes. Personal information is not stored so the patient’s identity is safe. This mobile app is FDA-approved and compliant with HIPAA standards.
Compatible: iPhone, Blackberry, and Windows Mobile Smart Phones
Price: Free, but the hospital at which the doctor is employed must purchase the Airstrip OB System