Every day, more and more people are turning to mobile apps for health information. As we reviewed in our last blog, physicians are demanding health apps with robust functionalities and patients are looking to their smartphones and tablets for activities like tracking their weight, managing their diabetes, or setting medication reminders. There are currently thousands of apps available on iTunes but some are leading the pack with their innovation and technology capabilities.
Top Apps for Physicians
Ask any technology-savvy physician what his favorite healthcare app is and you will likely get a response based on what kind of doctor he is and what his specific needs are. Because of this, it may be hard to get a strong consensus on the best apps available. However, American EHR Partners recently conducted a study (Tablet Usage by Physicians 2013) that did uncover the top 10 most frequently used tablet apps. Among the top five are:
1. Epocrates– Of all the apps, this one is frequently regarded as the best one out there due to its many capabilities. Epocrates allows doctors to review drug and safety information, check insurance coverage, access medical news and research, and perform calculations (such as BMI).
2. Medscape- (tied to WebMd) Like Epocrates, this app includes drug and safety information and has calculation features. In addition, it offers procedure videos and access to continuing medical education (CME) materials.
3. Up To Date– A clinical decision support resource, this app offers evidence-based recommendations, access to CME materials, calculation tools, and drug interaction information.
4. MedCalc– An excellent calculation resource, MedCalc gives easy access to medical formulas, scores, scales, and classifications.
5. Skyscape Medical Resources– This is a clinical decision-support tool that includes drug information, a medical calculator, evidence-based clinical information, and medical news and archives.
Top Patient Apps
Looking to patients, healthcare app usage is much higher than with physicians. In 2012, a whopping 247 million people downloaded a health app. No matter what the patient needs, there is likely an app that can help. However, because most patients lack the comprehensive health knowledge that physicians possess, many argue that there must be more regulation of health apps to identify those that are reliable sources of information and those that are not. The FDA is currently striving to actively monitor apps that present any risks to patients. Still, there are many popular health apps available that do offer many benefits. The following are some of the most frequently used health apps in the country.
1. WebMD– Just as Medscape is popular with physicians, WebMD is popular with patients. This app offers information on symptoms, diseases, drugs, and treatments. It also offers a useful pill identification tool.
2. Pill Reminder– Allows patients to maintain a list of all drugs they are currently taking, set reminders of when to take medications, and get important information on dosages and side effects.
3. Lose It!– A weight loss app that helps you lose weight by keeping track of your calories and amount of time spent exercising.
4. Sleep Cycle– An innovative app that uses an accelerometer to track your movements as you sleep and records when you transition from light to deep sleep. Then, an alarm clock will wake you when it determines you are in your lightest sleep during a preset 30 minute wake up window.
5. ZocDoc– Helps you find a physician based on patient reviews, doctor expertise, location, and insurance plans.
Regardless of if you use health apps currently or not, the likelihood that you will download one in the coming years is high. Health apps have the ability to offer a lot of useful information in a convenient manner and are sure to advance patient care for many.
Excite Health Partners
Excite Health Partners is committed to advancing patient care through talent and technology. We offer healthcare IT services and healthcare IT jobs nationwide. Contact us online or call us at 877-803-5804 for more information.