The 6 Essential Apps Every Doctor Needs
Mobile apps are having a huge impact on the way many industries operate. The healthcare sector has not been immune–no pun intended–to this influence and healthcare professionals can now access a wide proliferation of relevant mobile apps.
The appeal of mobile devices for healthcare professionals lies in the way they substitute old-fashioned devices such as pagers and PDAs. Not only are mobile devices much more convenient to carry around because of the double role they play as personal devices, but they also offer far more functionality than pagers did.
These additional functionalities are offering healthcare professionals better tools for communicating with other professionals, examining patients and accessing important information.
Such has been the impact of mobile apps on healthcare that, according to reports, 87% of doctors today use a smartphone or tablet device for work.
Benefits of apps for doctors
- Better communication. Mobile apps are helping a very geographically disperse industry to better communicate and exchange valuable information. This is bringing great benefits, from facilitating urgent assistance more efficiently to allowing remote patients to communicate their health problems more accurately.
- Better clinical decision-making. Apps are also helping healthcare professionals by providing them with valuable tools to examine patients and arrive at better medical conclusions; from reference apps containing all the information available about a medical condition, to medical calculators making it easier to draw conclusions from a set of conditions.
- Improved accuracy. From an administrative perspective, mobile apps also aid the healthcare sector greatly. For example, apps can allow patient information to be submitted via mobile apps. This information is then stored centrally, making it easier to rectify any errors and to ensure that all doctors have the right information. It also results in more complete records that can be accessed by any professional at any time.
- Increased efficiency. Overall, what mobile apps are best at is making access to information easier and as a consequence making business processes more efficient. By being able to access accurate information at any time and on an easy-to-use app, healthcare professionals can save precious time and get work done faster and more efficiently.
Types of apps for doctors
1. Managing time and appointments
Healthcare professionals such as doctors tend to have extremely busy schedules. Many have to move between different locations and generally spend a lot of time on the move, whether traveling or going from patient to patient within healthcare centers.
As a consequence, it is often a challenge for them to organize and keep track of all their appointments and meetings, particularly if these are modified during the long periods when they are away from their desks.
Thankfully, apps can offer a solution to this problem. An app can allow healthcare professionals to view information about their appointments, and include any other relevant information such as participating doctors and medical history of the patient.
Such an app can ensure that doctors always know where they are supposed to be and that they always have the information they need at hand, thereby increasing efficiency.
2. Accessing Electronic Health Records
Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are digital records of patient health information, from medical history and prescriptions to x-ray and scan results. Currently, doctors normally access them online at their offices.
However, apps that allow access to patient EHRs would be extremely convenient for doctors who are often on the move.
An EHR app could allow doctors not only to find records, but also to introduce new information directly into the app, which would automatically update the central system. In this way, doctors can ensure that patient information is always up to date.
Improving communications has always been of great importance in the healthcare sector, where professionals sometimes need to be contacted urgently by colleagues or patients.
By enabling a wide range of communication channels, from text messaging and email to video conferencing, members of healthcare institutions can now be connected better than ever before.
The same applies to communication with patients. Allowing patients to instantly message doctors when a problem arises, and enabling them to include images to more accurately describe ailments, can help ensure that health support is faster and more effective than ever.
Another great way in which mobile apps are improving communications in healthcare is by enabling access to social networks for doctors. These social networks, such as Doximity, allow different healthcare professionals to discuss issues and come to conclusions together, ensuring that they arrive at the best possible diagnoses.
This not only allows doctors to quickly consult questions on the go but also empowers them to increase their knowledge and become better doctors.
4. Medical Information Reference
It is no secret that doctors need to learn extremely large quantities of medical information in order to practice. And it is no surprise if some doctors find it impossible to retain all this information permanently.
Added to this the abundance of new treatments and drugs regularly being introduced in the healthcare sector, the task becomes even more challenging.
But doctors need not worry anymore, because all they need to do now is check their mobile device every time they need their memory refreshed.
There are a great number of apps in the market that serve as medical and drug references, without the chunky element of paper-based manuals. These offer medical information about any condition imaginable, treatments, infectious diseases, pathogens, etc. Some example apps are the John Hopkins Antibiotic Guide, the Sanford Guide to Antimicrobial Therapy and DynaMed.
Drug reference apps, on the other hand, provide information about indications, dosages, contraindications, interactions, and any other consideration imaginable. Example apps include Epocrates and Skyscape.
Reference apps can also be used by doctors to keep track with breaking medical news and discoveries, whether in the form of articles, news forums, podcasts or videos. A great example of this kind of app is Medscape.
5. Patient examination
But where apps for doctors are truly revolutionary is in actually aiding doctors to carry out patient examinations more accurately and efficiently.
Today, a wide number of clinical software is available in mobile format that is helping doctors better diagnose and examine patients.
From tools that can be used to examine blood pressure and color blindness to medical calculators that automatically make accurate diagnoses based on a series of symptoms, the potential for this kind of apps is immense.
Apps can also be used to determine preventive measures for procedures such as surgery, based on a range of factors including age, gender, tobacco use, etc.
QxMD Calculate is an example of a great clinical calculator available as a mobile app. The app gives you access to 150 different calculators and support tools for a wide range of medical disciplines, from cardiology and internal medicine to oncology and orthopedics.
6. Patient monitoring
Finally, patient monitoring apps are great ways to keep track of patients who may be unable to take care of themselves.
These apps can monitor the health of patients with chronic diseases and warn doctors of emergency medical situations, so that healthcare can be provided instantly.
They also have location tracking functionalities such as GPS that can help track patients with diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and ensure that they are easily found if they get lost. A great example app for this is iWander.
Finally, some patient monitoring apps, such as HanDBase, also provide essential information such as diagnoses, tests and treatments, which can be accessed by doctors in emergency situations to ensure they provide the right healthcare.
Mobile apps for doctors are revolutionising the healthcare sector, dramatically changing the way doctors work, communicate and learn.
Not only are apps helping increase efficiency and convenience for doctors, but they are also bringing new ways of working that are helping doctors expand their knowledge and arrive at better medical diagnoses.
Apps for doctors are also creating new opportunities for additional services that didn’t exist before, such as patient monitoring and EHR access on mobile.
Despite all these great benefits, we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg of what mobile apps can do for healthcare, and we should expect to see many changes in the coming years as the healthcare sector becomes increasingly mobilized.