It’s Valentine’s Day. I’m not particularly a fan of the romance and flowers and chocolates. However, I do recognize some of the sentiment of the day to tell those around you that you appreciate them. This can often be forgotten when you’re working 80 hours a week and are physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted, as many of us are in healthcare.
With this in mind, I would like to take the opportunity to show my appreciation to my Top 5 favorite iPhone and iPad apps — my trusty sidekicks and often times the unsung heroes that help me provide excellent patient care.
1. Medscape – I didn’t used to be a Medscape fan. I used to love and depend on my Epocrates. However, the team at Medscape has made the leap above Epocrates in its app design; significantly so with its iPad app. With Epocrates, I found myself having to wait for obtrusive updates in times of need when I needed a rapid answer. Furthermore, Medscape offers basic information about common disease states for free, which would otherwise cost a substantial amount with Epocrates.
2. Calculate by QxMD – There are quite a few medical calculators out there and a fair number of very good ones. So this is particularly hard to narrow it down to one. Qx Calculate has a very nice polished design and intuitively runs the user through the calculations in a question-and-answer format. It also gives you the reference calculation and the articles in which the formulae are derived which is pretty cool (and very helpful).
3. Doximity – I can’t say with much honesty that I use this app daily, but I do appreciate the intent of it and recognize its promise. Doximity promises to be the premiere social networking app for healthcare providers. Rather than posting pictures of your outing to the dance club or bar like one would with other social networks, providers use Doximity to relay clinical questions and puzzles.
Another use for the Doximity app is to be able to identify providers in the community to refer a patient in need of a particular specialist. Lastly, it is quickly blossoming into somewhat of a physician’s LinkedIn, prompting users to create a CV with experience and publications, which will certainly help a provider identify the expert in any particular issue within their network.
4. Read: Personalized Medical Journal by QxMD - This is a newer app to the market, which holds a lot of potential. This is an app intended to rapidly search and retrieve journal articles and archive them for quick reference. The problem I have run into, however, is that frequently it runs up against a pay wall on the article I am looking for. And although settings exist that can be setup to use institutional library proxies, it just hasn’t integrated with my institution’s library at the moment. But, I anticipate this will soon come, at which point this app will be invaluable at that rapid EBM moment on rounds.
5. Medical Spanish – Growing up in Arizona and taking a few Spanish classes in school, I know a bit of the language — but I must admit, my Spanish skills fall short far from ordering food, complementing food, or asking the location of food. This is where MedSpanish has excelled — not only does it provide a rapid and comprehensive medical English-Spanish translation, but it also speaks for you. In those situations where I just need a little information quickly, I find the patient and I tapping away at my phone and making great strides to communicate beyond language barriers.
Well, Happy Valentine’s Day to my favorite five iOS apps. I truly appreciate you, sans the mushy card and flowers.
Your turn: have an app recommendation for me to check out? What are your top 5 apps (iOS or Android) that you use daily? Feel free to drop me a note in the comments section.
Brandon H. Abbott, DO, MPH
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