The Best Medical Apps of 2011


As the year comes to a close, one cannot help but reflect on the astounding technological advancements made in 2011, particularly since such progress has greatly benefited the medical industry.

As the year comes to a close, one cannot help but reflect on the astounding technological advancements made in 2011, particularly since such progress has greatly benefited the medical industry.

Arguably, 2011 was the year of the mobile application; mobile apps for SmartPhones equip practitioners with outstanding resources and have the ability to greatly improve the quality of patient care. Listed below are 10 such applications for Apple products like the iPhone and iPad which have aided medial field workers throughout this past year, and hopefully will continue to do so in 2012.

  1. AirStrip — Cardiology (iPhone)

AirStrip Cardiology was created by AirStrip Technologies, LLC. The application allows physicians to view, review, interact with and analyze the ECG history of a patient, but in a revolutionary format. It facilitates quicker and more accurate diagnosis and treatment of cardiac patients, and the app can be used in the hospital or by caregivers providing in-home treatment.

Additionally, “AirStrip Cardiology allows for unprecedented collaboration between Emergency Medical Systems, Emergency Department and Cardiology teams — especially when transporting potential AMI and STEMI patients,” according to the product description on iTunes. This app requires iOS 4.2 or higher.

  1. Epocrates (iPhone)

According to a news release from Epocrates Inc, the most popular medical application in the iTunes store is Epocrates, and it is not hard to see why. Epocrates is a mobile drug reference resource which offers speedy access to reliable drug, disease, and diagnostic information, including thousands of prescriptions and medicinal facts. The free version also provides pill identification—which classifies capsules by imprint code and physical characteristics—and a program which recognizes and informs the user of adverse reactions between medications, providing information for up to 30 drugs simultaneously. The premium version of Epocrates supplies physicians with even more, such as information for evidence-based treatment for hundreds of diseases and conditions.

The Epocrates Inc. news release went on to say that “more than one in five physicians are actively using Epocrates on their iPhone or iPod touch.” The iTunes product description boasts 45,806 ratings overall for the Epocrates line of applications.

  1. Skeletal System Pro II — (NOVA Series) (iPhone/iPad)

Called by Apple as “one of the top 5 medical iPad apps of 2011,” the Skeletal System Pro II (NOVA Series) was developed by 3D4Medical with the aid of Stanford University School of Medicine. The application includes a greatly detailed three dimensional skeleton which the user can rotate and zoom in on certain areas. They can also “cut” the skeleton open to study the human bone system, making this application an ideal teaching tool for not only medical students but for patients as well. Doctors can easily use the tool to help explain and educate patients one particular conditions or injuries.

Video tutorials exploring the many functions and uses of this app are available for both the iPhone and iPad.

  1. Mobile MIM (iPhone/iPad)

Mobile MIM first hit the market in 2008, but it was yanked off the shelves after regulatory concerns were expressed. Luckily, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the mobile radiology application a 510(k) clearance in February of this year.

According to the FDA’s Summary of Safety and Effectiveness on MIM, “The Mobile MIM software program is used for the registration, fusion, and/or display for diagnosis of medical images from only the following modalities: SPECT, PET, CT, and MRI.” It also offers wireless and portable access to medical images and safe data transfer.

  1. Medical Spanish (with audio) (iPad/iPhone)

This app by Batoul Apps has been around for a while, but it remains a steady must-have for any healthcare provider who aids a large Spanish speaking population. It allows users to search for specific words and phrases, and 6,000 previously prepared phrases allow for quick and easy translation—especially when paired with an audio feature. WiFi is not necessary to use this program, so it is very portable and easy to use pretty much anywhere. Reviews of the product have been very positive, and updates are expected in the near future.

  1. Blausen Human Atlas (iPhone/iPad)

Created by Blausen Medical Communications, Inc., the Blausen Human Atlas 3.4 provides doctors, nurses, and caregivers a device ideal for conveying important information and concepts to patients via three-dimensional medical animations of the human anatomy paired with a search engine filled with a dictionary of medical terms. It also is the perfect learning tool for medical students, and is available in multiple languages.

  1. AirStrip Patient Monitoring (iPad)

Made by the By AirStrip Technologies, LLC, this AirStrip application is a powerful diagnostic and monitoring tool. The app allows healthcare providers to remotely monitor patients from anywhere as long as they have a cellular or Wi-Fi connection. AirStrip lets clinicians monitor the vital signs of patients, like blood pressure and cardiac waveforms, at nearly real-time speeds. Doctors can also use the application to check up on and record patient labs, medications, intakes and outputs, and allergies. Overall, the application has the ability to significantly decrease and even eradicate time delay in the clinical assessment and treatment of patients.

  1. Drchrono EHR (iPad)

This application allows for an entirely paperless record keeping process which also serves to accumulate all patient information into one digital file. The procedure begins by having patients check in using an iPad when they arrive for an appointment. From there, the entire visit is recorded and integrated with the patient’s medical record using drchrono. Drchrono allows individual practices to design and utilize custom clinical forms, update patient medications and appointment schedules, and bill any insurance company in the US digitally with the use of a singular app. The application also boasts the incorporation of “Medical Speech to Text technology,” which lets the user record anything into a patient’s file simply by speaking.

Lastly, drchrono is certified as a complete electronic health record in accordance with federal incentive programs.

  1. OsiriX HD (iPhone/iPad)

OsiriX HD is another application that is an oldie but a goodie, and still very useful within the medical field. It has won multiple awards, including Best Medical App of 2009 from Mobile Awards. This app allows users to download and maneuver through images from devices such as ultrasound machines, CT scanners, and MRI’s in the “standard DICOM format used by the medical/scientific industry,” according to the product description on iTunes. Doctors can easily flip through different images digitally without having to physically see them, and they can zoom in on certain areas or alter the contrast colors in order to increase picture visibility.

  1. Rx-Writer (iPad)

Featured as “New & Noteworthy Medical Application” by Apple, Rx-Writer is a secure digital method to fax prescriptions directly from a physician’s iPad to a pharmacy. While the transfer of the prescription itself more expedient, the app also cuts down on the time spent writing, tracking, researching, and renewing prescriptions. Additionally, the application keeps track of the medications patients are on, and allows doctors to view lists of prescriptions either chronologically, alphabetically, or a custom method. Finally, the application allows the user access to the FDA drug database within seconds, so doctors can present information and decisions to patients much faster than they would be able to if lengthy researching were necessary.

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