Medical and health apps are a big deal. With around 350,000 apps in sites like Apple App Store or Google Play, it’s clear that health care has gone mobile. There seems to be a medical app for everything.
Whether you’re a physician or a medical student, clinical practice is headed toward a reality where healthcare workers must be the best at their craft and savvy consumers of Health IT solutions to keep up with medical practice.
But what do medical professionals think of medical apps? In my experience as a psychologist and a medical writer, I have found contradictory positions. Some are fans of medical apps, while others see them with mistrust.
Let’s explore the best medical apps for healthcare professionals.
What Are Medical Apps?
Medical apps are software applications designed to provide medical information or services on mobile devices like smartphones or tablets. If you feel like every day, there’s a new app out there; you’re not alone. Mobile apps are a booming business,
Medical apps can be used by patients, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals for simple information, to see a doctor, or to schedule the delivery of their medication.
Are Medical Apps Effective?
The purpose of medicine is to heal and not harm. A medical application must do the same. But the field is new, so every student learns in medical school, and more research is needed.
Preliminary studies of mHealth apps are promising in their potential to improve patient care. A recent study on the effectiveness of medical apps in improving mental health and promoting healthy habits showed benefits for the participants.
It’s too soon to arrive at to definitive conclusion, though. As I learned in my medical statistics classes, medical knowledge is too essential to rely on limited studies. More research is needed.
Types of Medical Apps
If you’re a medical professional seeking a new mobile app to assist you in your day-to-day, the abundance of choices can overwhelm you. When I searched app stores, researching for this article, I swear I saw an app for every medical condition.
Don’t panic. My main objective is to synthesize a few apps that I consider essential, so I will offer a few selected recommendations to find the best apps for you.
Still, it’s essential to know what’s out there, so here are a few categories that you should pay attention to:
- Personal health trackers: These apps are designed to help you keep track of different variables that impact your health, all from the convenience of your mobile device. You can keep track of what you eat, your level of physical movement, sleep quality, and other health-related data.
- Symptom checkers: These medical apps help lay people mainly analyze if they’re at risk of suffering a medical condition. A mobile medical app in this category has tons of symptoms that give patients information intended to motivate them to seek medical attention if necessary.
- Electronic health record (EHR) apps: These apps empower healthcare professionals by giving them remote access to their patient’s medical record and managing it on the go.
- Medical reference and education apps: A medical reference app aims to provide information about medical conditions, drug information, and clinical practice guidelines. Medicine advances rapidly, and these apps try to make this knowledge more accessible.
- Telemedicine apps: These apps exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic as patients needed a convenient way to interact remotely with healthcare professionals for virtual consultations, diagnosis, and treatment.
- Medication management apps: Medication adherence is a massive challenge in healthcare. These apps intend to lay a bridge between healthcare experts and patients to help them manage their medication schedules and track how they take their prescribed medications.
- Medical imaging apps: Another booming app category, helps healthcare professionals view and analyze medical images, such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs, on mobile devices. An up-and-coming field as AI and Deep Learning promises to analyze millions of data points, helping catch early diseases that the human eye might miss.
This list is incomplete, as new app categories sprawl constantly. Here are the best medical apps.
What Are The Best Medical Apps?
The perfect healthcare app doesn’t exist. It depends primarily on your needs and the structure of your organization.
If you work for a healthcare provider, for instance, your organization is bounded by legal constraints and must utilize, for example, a HIPAA compliant app, while if you’re a medical student looking for a convenient way to find a resource to view human complete anatomy or a medical calculator, you can look without heavy restrictions.
If you’re a medical provider considering incorporating a health app for your practice, always consult the regulation in your state and within your organization.
Don’t take anything for granted.
Epocrates: Best Medical Reference App
Epocrates is a software program available on iOS, iPad, and Android platforms that includes a pill number, a prescription data folder, and an equation method to estimate medication doses and reactions.
It’s a versatile tool that can support a range of tasks, from prescribing medication to communicating with colleagues, making it a must-have for busy healthcare professionals.
- A massive medication database within Epocrates contains clinical information for thousands of medications, including medication identification, interaction control, and other critical data.
- Its subscription-based service, Essentials, provides access to alternative medicines, laboratory guides, and additional content that complements traditional drug information.
- Epocrates prescription data is incorporated directly into the AthenaText system, which enables physicians to communicate by text message and easily and immediately reveal medication information to clinical staff.
- Physicians can use Epocrates to authenticate their messages with specific dosages and contraindications without adjusting their devices, saving time and improving patient care and security.
- Healthcare professionals can obtain fast and accurate medication information, calculate BMI and GDR index, and read medical news from a central hub.
VisualDx: Best App For Clinical Decision Support
If you want to revolutionize your clinical decision-making process, VisualDx, a cutting-edge diagnostic support system, might be the answer to your diagnostic prayers.
For medical professionals, complex diagnoses are a challenging reality. VisualDX aims to offer another layer of confidence by going beyond traditional diagnostic tools by providing visual representations of disease variations. This feature makes it easier for healthcare professionals to compare and contrast symptoms and arrive at an accurate diagnosis faster than ever before.
- VisualDX provides a comprehensive list of diseases and is a must-have for anyone dealing with complex clinical practice.
- The app is easy to navigate and provides a quick treatment guide, differentials, and education tools for patients who love the visual component as an aid that enhances understanding.
- High-quality, high-yield photos, constantly updated on various conditions, and pictograms for systemic diseases facilitate effective clinical cross-reference.
- The app’s design is helpful for medical training and education because the information is concise and well-organized in templates for quick reference.
- Medical professionals love that VisualDX helps them significantly decrease the number of medical apps they need daily, as it provides comprehensive information and clinical reference.
- It is highly rated in residency programs as a trusted source of actionable insights.
- It contains management pearls to supplement other resources. Treatment options are regularly updated to stay current with clinical guidelines and the latest regulations.
UpToDate: Best Medical Bedside App
UpToDate is a clinical decision support tool and medical app created for delivering evidence-based medical information to medical professionals. Created by physicians for physicians, its mission is to assist healthcare providers in making informed treatment decisions by providing the latest clinical data on various medical conditions, drugs, and treatments from a convenient centralized platform.
Available on both iOS and Android devices, the app works on a subscription-based model to access its entire content catalog.
- I like that it’s easy to read, the clinical information is succinct, and references to PubMed articles help go deep if the situation demands it.
- I find the graphics and calculators to be extremely useful.
I appreciate that medically conservative experts, in their approach, vet high-quality medical research. This facilitates work as the content they choose is trustworthy, making it the ideal bedside application.
- UpToDate serves as a tool for aggregating background medical information that curates the most important medical topics, making keeping up-to-date much more straightforward and time efficient.
- Medical professionals love that UpToDate helps them evaluate multiple alternatives when a patient presents a complex case. You know you’re doing your best work, as you can easily discard potential diagnoses and explore the best options.
Kareo: Best Medical Practice Management App
Kareo is a cloud-based medical practice management platform designed to help independent medical practices manage their clinical and administrative workflows. It is a complete suite with ample features such as patient scheduling, billing, document management, electronic prescribing, and a patient portal.
A HIPAA compliant product built around a philosophy of robust security to protect patient data. It plays well with others, allowing integration with multiple third-party applications, such as labs, imaging centers, and pharmacies, genuinely delivering a holistic experience.
Kareo’s pricing depends on the size of a practice and its needs, as it’s fully customizable. Kareo is accessible through web browsers, as well as through iOS and Android device apps.
- Intuitive program to use with not a steep learning curve and a flexible configuration.
- I like that it helps practices of all sizes to keep more organized patient information, allowing them to keep on top of invoices, which is a massive benefit as revenue collection can be problematic for independent practices.
- Kareo serves as a patient CRM giving you fast access to patient information for billing, collection, and retention.
- Robust telehealth module that is simple and easy to use by patients.
- Reliable customer service that is always helpful and offers step-by-step instructions to solve issues and find workarounds.
- Perfect for keeping a medical practice accounting in one place.
I firmly believe that finding the best medical app for your specific need can truly revolutionize how you manage and deliver medical services as a healthcare professional.
In the medical world, one of the most critical segments in all human services, finding ways to be more efficient genuinely makes a difference. When you choose them well, medical apps empower you to accomplish this goal.
My tip is to double-check HIPAA compliance before choosing an app and to decide based on the efficiency gains it will deliver to your workflow.