Physicians are typically more conservative than others when it comes to embracing new technology. Patient care and paper work consumes so much of our time that we tend not to fiddle around with apps that may clutter our lives even more. However, if we are confident that a medical app will make our lives easier or boost our income, we would be foolish not to use it. With the privacy rules of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) in mind, a lot of compliant apps are hitting the market. The medical apps market is booming and is predicted to be worth $26 billion globally in 2017. In fact, a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers study has found healthcare to be one of the top three mobile trends for 2017.
A recent study reports that 80 percent of doctors are using medical apps on smartphones. 72 percent of physicians are accessing information related to drugs via their smartphones, while another 63 percent are accessing medical research information from tablets. Another 44 percent communicate with their staff, including nurses, via smartphones.
After surveying 520 physicians in the DoctorCPR Physicians Network, we have come up with a list of the six most downloaded medical apps among the doctors in our group.
1. Figure 1–Medical Cases for Healthcare
Over a million healthcare professionals actively use the Figure 1 app. The app helps physicians share clinical pictures, identify rare medical conditions, and enhance their medical skills and knowledge in real-time. Figure 1 also helps physicians communicate with like-minded professionals from isolated or remote locations. It has a “direct message” feature that is HIPAA compliant and allows medical peers to share information and interact. The app has thousands of viewable physician teaching cases that pertain to all of the medical specialties. It’s already a top tool for connecting with renowned institutions such as Massachusetts General Hospital and impactful global organizations such as Doctors Without Borders. Figure 1 is available for Android and iOS.
Do you need accurate and fast clinical answers for your patients? Medscape, available for iOS and Android is a top medical resource for all medical students and physicians. The app allows you to look up dosages for medications, avoid harmful drug combinations, access the latest medical news, and find evidence-based patient care information. It also includes tools for collecting images, performing medical calculations and procedures, and accessing formulary information.
Available for iOS and Android, UpToDate is a subscription-based app for institutions and individuals that answers nearly all of your clinical questions at any time. It supports clinical decisions with succinct and updated evidence-based articles while providing drug recommendations. The app has been subjected to more than 30 research studies that confirm that its vast usage has led to improvement in hospital performance and patient care.
With over a million users globally among health care professionals, Epocrates allows a physician to review drug safety and prescription information for hundreds of generic, over the counter, and brand name drugs. It also makes it easy to check if there are possible drug interactions, that may harm a patient, for up to thirty medications at a time. The app allows you to access medical research information and news and will help you identify drugs based on their physical traits. It has a Provider Directory feature where a physician can find providers for both referrals and consultations.
Epocrates is also handy when you want to choose regional or national medical insurance formularies to check information on drug coverage. If you want to carry out GFR, BMI and other medical calculations, this app has all you need. A newly introduced feature is a HIPAA compliant secure text messaging for coordinating care. While the Android and iOS app is free, a subscription annual upgrade allows you to access more information such as lab guides, alternative medications, coding, and guidelines for clinical practice and disease information, among others.
5. NEJM This Week
The New England Journal of Medicine is arguably the most trusted name for the highest quality evidence-based medical information and news. NEJM This Week, available only for iOS at this time, allows any physician and clinician to access review articles, research findings in medicine, and diverse editorials on various clinical practice and biomedical science topics. By downloading the app, you can access recent articles, images of medical conditions, audio of weekly clinical practice content, and videos of select medical procedures.
6. Read by QxMD
Read is an app for both iOS and Android that reformats all your medical literature into a personalized digital medical journal. Using a magazine format, it allows you to easily read, download, and share studies, journals, and articles from a host of sources including open access journals, PubMed, and papers from connected medical institutions. With tens of thousands of installs, and plenty of free content, including a database of over 1000 topic reviews, this is an obvious choice for all physicians looking to stay up-to-date in their specialty. The app is free, but some journals and PubMed may require an institutional or individual subscription.
Don’t fall behind the times. While you should not waste your time with medical apps that are difficult to use and glitchy, the six apps listed above are worth checking out. They are downloaded the most by our physicians and receive high praise for their high quality, ease of use, and utility. Do you use any other medical apps that significantly boost your medical practice? We would love to hear from you. Please include a comment or contact us and let us know.
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