Here are the apps that will provide healthcare technicians with an advantage in 2017
There are more than two million apps available for both Apple and Android devices, so it’s not surprising that over 10,000 of those are dedicated to healthcare—many of which are geared toward physicians.
From accessing reviews of medication to collaborating with other doctors about strange symptoms, the apps below will provide physicians with a tech advantage heading into 2017.
Created by WebMD, the titan of online healthcare, Medscape is one of the most popular medical apps available for the iOS and Android operating systems. Doctors and other medical professionals can use the app to visually identify drugs and supplements, look up dosages, and consult a clinical reference database. Before this app, doctors would have had to keep a dozen different medical reference books in their offices. With Medscape, an entire library’s worth of medical textbooks are available on a phone or tablet.
This app is like Instagram for doctors. Available for both iOS and Android, Figure 1 is a photo app that allows doctors and medical professionals to share images of cases they encounter in their practice: everything from X-rays of an unusual fracture, pictures of an unusually swollen ankle, or a close-up of a cluster of warts. Sound unappealing? To most people it probably is. But the app’s users are expecting it—Figure 1 positions itself as a network for medical professionals to share rare conditions, brainstorm innovative approaches to treatment, and get feedback from their colleagues. Just as Instagram users can comment on a photo, a fellow doctor can offer his or her input in response to a post.
To resolve issues of patient privacy and abide by HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) by not sharing PHI (Personal Health Information), users are required to remove all identifying details, such as faces and tattoos. Every image is reviewed by a team of moderators before it’s shared with the Figure 1 community.
If Figure 1 is Instagram for doctors, then SERMO is Facebook. With nearly 600,000 members around the globe, SERMO is one of the world’s largest social networks for physicians looking to connect with colleagues around the world. While accounts require verification from the SERMO team, all profiles on the platform are kept anonymous, meaning that doctors can feel comfortable to talk about everything from patient treatment to controversial changes to medical policy. The platform’s members include doctors in 30 countries around the world representing more than 90 specialties and subspecialties.
Like Figure 1, SERMO also serves as a source of crowdfunded information for medical professionals. Once a user has posted a photo or update, they can receive real-time help from other doctors.
Explaining a diagnosis to a patient can be difficult without using complicated medical terminology. drawMD aims to help doctors by providing a platform where they can doodle their diagnosis. Imagine a patient has the beginnings of a small blood clot which could later put them at risk of a heart attack. Rather than trying to explain the location of that blood clot in a coronary artery, the doctor could use drawMD to show the patient instead.
There’s no pressure on doctors to be artists extraordinaire. The drawMD app comes with a gallery of professionally-drawn templates illustrating the vascular system, cardiac system, internal organs, and more. Doctors select the proper background image and then draw on it to illustrate the condition to the patient.
The goal of the app — available for iOS and Android — is to increase patient literacy and create a more engaging experience between doctor and patient.
Universal Doctor Speaker
This is an essential app for doctors who encounter patients for whom English is not their first language. Like drawMD, Universal Doctor Speaker’s mission is to increase the healthcare literacy of patients. In the case of this app, that occurs through making sure patients are receiving the information they need in a language they understand.
The app translates complex medical terminology into 17 languages, which are then communicated to patients using audio. The app doesn’t translate in real time — instead, it contains thousands of pre-translated medical questions and explanations, allowing doctors to deal with any situation whether they’re online or off. Universal Doctor Speaker is continuously updated to improve the quality and number of its translations.
Most recently, a version of the app was tailored to help doctors dealing with the refugee crisis in Europe.
There are so many new medications on the market that it can be difficult for doctors to keep up with them all. Iodine is meant to simplify that by providing reviews of different medications and treatments. If a physician is on the fence about whether to prescribe a particular medication to a patient, they can open the Iodine app and see how that drug has affected other real patients in the past. Each medication’s profile includes charts that reveal whether it proved beneficial or was a hassle for patients to take. Doctors can use this information in conjunction with their own knowledge to decide whether a treatment is right for their patient.
This app lets doctors do a lot at once. Advertised as a point of care medical application, more than 1 million medical professionals use Epocrates. The app has 12 distinctive features, including quick access to drug information, the ability to check the interactions of up to 30 different medications at a time, and the option to research and consider alternative medicines. According to the Epocrates website, doctors who use the app have reported saving upwards of 20 minutes each day.
PubMed On Tap
This is another resource that frees doctors from worrying about reference books and looking information up online. PubMed On Tap is an iOS app that serves as a one-stop shop for research, citations, and abstracts related to medical studies. Like other apps that allow users to bookmark content to read later, PubMed On Tap includes the offline storage of articles and the ability to share studies with colleagues via email.
For doctors who want to access to even more reference libraries, Bookends On Tap is a slightly more expensive version of the app that allows doctors to browse JSTOR, Google Scholar, Web of Science, and more.
While not all free, the apps above will be sound investments for your practice and should assist patient care in the year ahead. Are there any amazing apps we are missing?