App for Physicians Also Popular with Patients

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Epocrates is one of the most popular medical apps available for iPhones, iPads, Android, Blackberry, Palm, and Windows Mobile. It’s intended to help physicians access medical information — including drug dosing, reference values for vital statistics, and information about diseases — quickly and efficiently. Because the app market is glutted with medical applications, the value of Epocrates is that it combines the most important functions into a single app. In a recent press release, the Epocrates compay referred to the app as a “prescription for medical app overload”:

Mobile apps are only as valuable as they are useful. We’ve advanced the user experience of our world-class drug reference app and added a singular channel to discover, store and access reliable tools. Furthermore, this is a fresh foundation for new partner engagements and opportunities to deliver even more value-add resources to our network.

While Epocrates is intended for clinicians, patients may also find the information contained in the application useful. For instance, Epocrates can check whether two medications interact with one another, which can help consumers avoid potential dangerous drug overdoses associated with combination medicines available over the counter. The app also provides safety information for prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, including safety during pregnancy and lactation.

While Epocrates is a powerful healthcare tool, it’s a reference tool; essentially, a set of computerized reference books. The app is not a substitute for diagnostic ability in a physician, or a visit to the doctor by a layperson.

Source: Epocrates

About the Author

Kirstin Hendrickson, Ph.D., is a science journalist and faculty in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Arizona State University. She has a PhD in Chemistry, and studied mechanisms of damage to DNA during her graduate career. Kirstin also holds degrees in Zoology and Psychology. Currently, both in her teaching and in her writing, she’s interested in methods of communicating about science, and in the reciprocal relationship between science and society. She has written a textbook called Chemistry In The World, which focuses on the ways in which chemistry affects everyday life, and the ways in which humans affect each other and the environment through chemistry.