App Wrap

MDNG Primary Care, October 2009, Volume 11, Issue 10

The iTunes App Store offers an ever-expanding collection of iPhone and iPod touch applications that are specific to medicine. When we wrote this feature, there were 58 pages of 20 apps each-that's nearly 1,200 apps! To give you an idea of how quickly the list is growing, consider that more than 200 apps were added between October 1 and October 23! With so many apps from which to choose, where do you start? Enter, App Wrap, our way of helping sort through it all. You're welcome.

The iTunes App Store offers an ever-expanding collection of iPhone and iPod touch applications that are specifi c to medicine. When we wrote this feature, there were 58 pages of 20 apps each—that’s nearly 1,200 apps! To give you an idea of how quickly the list is growing, consider that more than 200 apps were added between October 1 and October 23! With so many apps from which to choose, where do you start? Enter, App Wrap, our way of helping sort through it all. You’re welcome.

Enter the titles below in the iTunes search window to easily fi nd and download them.

Epocrates

Memory Requirement: 2.7MB iTunes App Store Average

App Store Rating: 3.5/5 stars (2,435 ratings)

Topping many medical iPhone apps lists—including our top 15 free iPhone apps list back in May—Epocrates claims to be relied upon by more than 900,000 healthcare professionals, who use it to “make quick, confi dent decisions at the point of care.” The frequently updated app provides information on thousands of drugs, the ability to check drug interactions on up to 30 medications at a time, the physical characteristics and imprint code for numerous pills, a medical calculator, peer-reviewed disease management content that includes treatment options by patient type, interpretations for hundreds of lab tests, and more. The only app we’ve seen to receive more fi ve-star ratings than one-star ratings, Epocrates has received more than 50 reviews for this latest version. Among them: “Best app ever!” “This is a mandatory application for any healthcare provider. Each new version only reinforces this,” and “It’s a trusted app and used by all my doctor friends.” Among the negative reviews is one that reads, “This program requests too much personal information including your birthdate. There is no reason for this nor any data security.”

Skyscape Medical Resources

Price: FREE

Memory Requirement: 2.0MB

iTunes App Store Average App Store Rating: 2.5/5 stars (215 ratings)

This free application provides clinicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals with medical information and decision support tools. Resources include a drug guide, evidence-based information on hundreds of disease and symptom topics, a medical calculator, and a MedAlert feature, which ensures that clinicians receive the latest news and other information regarding their specialty. Reviews on the current version are mixed, with one reviewer experiencing bugs, one saying “rarely will this app give me the answers I’m looking for,” and another saying “Good [user interface], very helpful.” Reviews from previous versions are mostly positive, with some saying “Fast, functional and beautiful,” “Best yet,” and “Great resource for any medical professional.”

Care360 Mobile

Price: FREE

Memory Requirement: 1.1MB

iTunes App Store Average App Store Rating: 3.5/5 stars (12 ratings)

This HIPAA-compliant e-prescribing application— available in the full version risk-free for six months, at writing—allows users to view medication history, lab results, and more while on the go. Physicians can also complete prescription ordering or renewal requests, add notes for follow-up, fi nd pharmacies, access patient demographics and problem lists, and mark lab results as reviewed. Reviews from the iTunes App Store include: “Very reliable and amazingly fast! I’ve gotten an iPhone for the sake of this application—it was worth it ‘big time’!” “So simple even a techno-challenged old guy like me was able to quickly get to the valuable info for my patients,” and “Who needs a computer in the room?”

Government Health News

Price: FREE

Memory Requirement: 0.2MB

iTunes App Store Average App Store Rating: 2.5/5 stars (127 ratings)

This app takes the FDA Mobile News and adds to it, combining news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food & Drug Administration, Health & Human Services, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, and National Library of Medicine into one, easy-to-use resource. What else do you need to know? How about some user reviews? Although several reviewers had trouble downloading the app, one said “This application is well organized and provides me with all the info I needed. It may have had bugs initially but apparently they’ve been worked out.”

Diagnose the Disease Game

Price: Free Memory Requirement: 8.5MB iTunes App Store Average App Store Rating: 2.5/5 stars (1,383 ratings)

ePocrates offers this challenging game in which users “race against the clock to diagnose the disease” as images are revealed. Receive scores based on speed and accuracy, submit your score to compete with top clinicians throughout the US, and test your own knowledge. The iTunes App Store reviews are mixed for this app, with some saying “It’s slow and buggy, takes too long to load” or “it only uses a limited image supply, so you can memorize each one,” and others saying “I thought this was a really clever idea! It was fun to try to guess the diseases and test my knowledge,” or “What a great way to sharpen your diagnostic skills! Just look at the photo and select one of three choices and get immediate feedback.”

iStethoscope Pro Price: $0.99 Memory Requirement: 0.5MB iTunes App Store Average App Store Rating Rating: 2/5 stars (24 ratings)

Don’t let the 2-star rating on this app—which turns your iPhone into a stethoscope thanks to the help of cardiologists who help developed it—fool you; the three of the fi ve ratings for the current version more or less say that the app doesn’t work, but the two others disagree, saying “This app works great! Takes some practice and defi nitely requires good, overthe- ear headphones” and “Couldn’t get it to work at fi rst but fi gured out I had to take case off b/c it was keeping the microphone from making a good seal contact on the skin. And after getting a good set of headphones I played with it for 3 hours! It works a lot better than I expected actually.” Now that we got that out of the way, let us provide some more info on the app’s features; users can hear the last eight seconds of recording by shaking their iPhone, as well as see a phonocardiograph display and spectrogram. The audio and spectrogram image can also be e-mailed to colleagues. A member of the MDNG staff experienced this app in use at a doctor’s visit and was “blown away.”

iTunes App Store Top 10 Medical Free Apps (as of 10/23/09) 1) Epocrates

2) Medscape

3) Diagnose the Disease game

4) Color Blind Test

5) Medical Encyclopedia

6) Muscle Head and Neck System

7) Swine Flu Tracker Map

8) Psych Drugs

9) Speeds Bones Lite

10) MedCalc (medical calculator)

iTunes App Store Top 10 Medical Paid Apps (as of 10/23/09)

1) Police Scanner

2) Emergency Radio

3) Human Body 3D Anatomy

4) The ECG Guide

5) Speed Bones MD

6) Instant ECG: An Electrocardiogram Rhythms Interpretation Guide

7) Diagnosaurus DDx

8) Pocket Lab Values

9) Medical Calculator

10) ACLS Wiz — Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support and Basic Life Support