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Apps to Help Health Care Professionals on the Job

As the world of medicine becomes increasingly technical, the use of medical applications grows just as fast as patient rosters. Many medical professionals have embraced the use of smartphones and tablets to help them do everything from keep track of appointment schedules to look up dosage information with a few taps and swipes. In the midst of a fast-growing market for medical apps, these three apps are among the most popular among health care workers.

Healthcare Technology

UpToDate

One of the most popular apps for health care providers, students, and caregivers, UpToDate is a reference tool that provides evidence-based recommendations, calculators optimized for mobile use and a tracker for CME credit. According to the UpToDate website, the good reputation is backed up by the statistics: 98 percent of individual subscribers would recommend the program to a colleague, and 95 percent of internal medicine residents said UpToDate was the most effective resource for learning.

Danelle Jackson, a nurse practitioner at Bella Family Health & Wellness in Charleston, Illinois, speaks highly of UpToDate. "It is trustworthy with references galore," Jackson pointed out. "It is succinct, offers patient education that you can print and review with the patient, treatment options (including their opinion of which option is the best route), [and] it is very user friendly." However, since UpToDate can be expensive, Jackson suggests that physicians and nurses ask for a subscription to the app as part of their employment contract.

Medscape

Medscape is another app that gets the thumbs-up from Jackson. "I used Medscape as a broke grad school student, and loved its ease of use, thorough information, and it is still my "go-to" for those times when I want less information, just the key points."

Medscape has over three million users, no subscription fees and is the fastest growing medical app, according to the Medscape app website. Medscape offers a significant list of clinical references, daily medical needs, CME topics and other information that can help health care providers find the help they need without ever leaving the patient's bedside.

Epocrates

Elizabeth Yepez, an Ob-Gyn practicing in Orland Park, Illinois, makes good use of Epocrates. "It is a drug reference and clinical point of care reference for disease and treatment," Yepez said. "I use it often to find whether a medication is safe in pregnancy and during lactation, as well as to investigate alternate therapies when needed."

Called "the King of all medical apps" by Medical Economics, this app allows for doctors, nurses, and others providing patient care to tap into research and current news, health insurance formularies for prescription drug coverage, drug prescribing information and more. The number one iPad medical app according to the Epocrates website, the company offers many other supporting mobile products for doctors, such as cardiology and nephrology tools.

Other apps that make the grade

There are plenty of other medical apps for medical workers making the rounds these days. Dr. Michael Jay Nusbaum, the Chief of Bariatric Surgery at Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey, looks to MedXCom for more than a few reasons. It seems this is one app that does a little bit of everything.

"It allows me to communicate with my patients the same way the rest of the world does but in a HIPAA compliant fashion. I love that I can perform virtual house calls with my patients and they love that they don't have to make unnecessary trips to the emergency room or my office," Nusbaum pointed out. "Finally, I appreciate the fact that all the calls on the system are recorded. Not only because it protects me from frivolous lawsuits, which it has already done, but also because I can share those recordings with my patients for them to review at their leisure."

Another interesting app is DynaMed, used often by Dr. Howard Druce, an allergy and immunology specialist in New Jersey. The app touches on over 3,200 topics and monitors over 500 medical journals for relevant content. "I use it to get up to date information about unusual medical diagnoses, and also use it to check up to date prescribing information. I also check for drug interactions and side effects. I tell patients when I am looking up information on the computer, specifically for them. I think they appreciate that I am trying to be thorough and precise in treating them."

Though these apps can provide wide-ranging help for nurses, doctors, pharmacists, health care administrators and other medical providers, apps that have sharper focus are also on the rise. Doximity allows providers to communicate in a HIPAA compliant format. The Medical Wizards Library is just that -- a library of reference materials providers can access from anywhere, anytime. Healix helps medical administration professionals keep the office running smoothly.

Apps can help make medical providers and administrators days easier by helping them with dosages, calculators, evidence-based research and recommendations, scheduling, drug prescribing information and so much more. As the world of medical and health care apps becomes more competitive, expect to see many more players on the market that provide even more features than the already impressive list most apps offer today.

Sources:

App Store, iTunes, Accessed December 9, 2014, https://itunes.apple.com

"Apple's top 118 apps for doctors, nurses, patients," MobiHealthNews, Aditi Pai, July 19, 2013, http://mobihealthnews.com/23740/apples-top-118-apps-for-doctors-nurses-and-patients/

Epocrates, Accessed December 9, 2014, https://www.epocrates.com/

Medscape, Accessed December 9, 2014, http://www.uptodate.com/home

"Physicians' top 5 most-used medical apps for smartphones and tablets," Medical Economics, Health Care Information Technology, June 13, 2013

"Top 10 Apps for Physicians," Capson Physicians Insurance, Medical Malpractice Insurance Blog, April 24, 2012, http://www.capson.com/top-10-apps-for-physicians

UpToDate, Accessed December 9, 2014, http://www.uptodate.com/home

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