An appetite for apps

The days of physicians reviewing the latest research news or checking drug interactions from their office desktop computers are slowly becoming a thing of the past. Tablet and smartphone use is at an all-time high as 51% of physicians use a mobile healthcare-related application (app) on their smartphones every day, and 30% use apps on their tablets, according to a recent report from American EHR Partners.

But physicians are not alone in wanting medical information on the go. Consumers are also using apps to manage their own health and wellness. Industry experts estimate that by 2017, half of the 3.4 billion smart-phone or tablet users worldwide will use mobile health apps, reports Forbes.

Here’s a look at some apps that promise to make the lives of physicians and endocrinology patients much easier:

REFERENCE

EPOCRATES
The top-ranked app among physicians, according to the American EHR survey. Lets physicians review drug prescribing and safety information for thousands of brand, generic, and over-the-counter drugs and perform dozens of calculations such as body mass index, LDL cholesterol estimation, and glomerular filtration rate. There are also pill identification displays. Free or a subscription upgrade for Epocrates Essential for $159/year. Available for iPhone/iPad and Android.

MEDSCAPE
Medscape has become the go-to reference app, boasting 3 million users who make up one of two physicians and three of four medical students in the U.S. Includes drug reference tools, evidence-based disease and condition reference, the latest medical news by specialty, and accredited continuing education courses. Free. Available for iPhone/ iPad, Android, and Kindle Fire.

EPONYMS
Popular with students, this app contains a short description of more than 1,700 medical eponyms — medical phrases or pathologies that are named after key people. $1.99. Available for iPhone/iPad and Android.

PATIENT EDUCATION

VISIBLE BODY HUMAN ANATOMY ATLAS
Top-selling human anatomy learning and teaching app on the market. Includes male and female models, each with more than 3,800 anatomical structures. All the structures in both models are rendered in true 3D. View any combination of anatomy, rotate freely, and adjust the zoom area. $29.99 or free preview version. Available for iPhone/iPad.

DRAWMD
Displays anatomical pictures that physicians can draw on top of and layer as needed to explain hard- to-understand anatomy, conditions, and procedures to patients. Enhances patient-doctor communication. drawMD offers several apps for different specialties, such as urology, ob/gyn, pediatrics, and cardiology to name a few. Physicians can also upload their own images for demonstration. Free. Available for iPhone/iPad.

NETWORKING

DOXIMITY
Another of the top five apps in American EHR survey, this networking tool offers physicians the chance to connect with more than 200,000 other physicians in the network. Includes HIPAA-compliant faxing, emailing, and text messaging. Physicians can also create a profile to highlight their CV. Free. Available for iPhone/iPad.

DICTATION

DRAGON DICTATION
A voice-recognition app that allows users to speak and instantly see their texts, email messages, or Tweets. Boasts a speed up to five times faster than typing on a keyboard. Free. Available for iPhone/iPad.

FOR PATIENTS

DIABETES IN CHECK
Helps patients manage their condition with digital coaching by a certified diabetes educator, blood glucose tracking, medication tracking, hundreds of diabetes-friendly recipes with photos, and a carb tracker database of more than 80,000 foods. Free. iPhone/iPad.

MYFITNESSPAL
A popular weight loss calorie counter, diet and exercise journal. Users can add their personal stats, (such as, height, age, sex, weight, target weight) and the app will work out how many calories can be consumed each day to hit the weight goal in the specified timeframe. Users record what they eat each day and input their activity. Free. Available on iPhone/iPad and Android.

— Fauntleroy is a freelance writer in Carmel, Ind., and a regular contributor to Endocrine News.

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