I don’t know how I ever lived without my iPhone. I don’t know how I ever navigated streets and timed my cycle trips in between rain fronts, went for a run without GPS tracking and motivational coaches (and cheers from my friends via facebook), knew where to eat, knew what my friends were doing every second of the day and filled my spare time without playing words with friends or catapulting angry birds at pigs. I’m pretty sure I am not the only technophile pharmacist out there. More and more apps are being created at low or no cost and packed with so much valuable information they are quickly becoming a handy tool in the workplace. I’ve been testing out some pharmacy related apps for the SHPA and I want to share my top five.
#1: MICROMEDEX Drug Information
This is my favourite app. It is hard to believe that this reference is available for free – all the Micromedex DrugPoints® information crammed on your phone. The only section available in the online version that it does not have is IV compatibility. Another bonus is you don’t have to be connected to the internet to access its information. It is elegant and intuitive. It does use US drug names, but if you have used US pharmacology texts or other versions of Micromedex in the past this is easy to adapt to.
It is available for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Android apps are in the pipeline for 2011. There is also a Micromedex interaction checker app currently being developed.
Mediquations is a close second. It is easy to navigate, has over 229 calculators and scoring tools and gives you important extra information such as how the results were calculated and references used so you don’t have to blindly trust the calculator. You can even review the references for the calculators in Pubmed. It makes it easy to calculate important information such as renal function, opioid equivalence and steroid equivalence. It has a calculator for almost everything, even a calculator that can tell you how many minutes old you are. It only costs $4.99. A negative point is this app uses US drug and trade names – an example of this is the ‘acetaminophen overdose n-acetylcysteine’ and the ‘Tylenol® toxicity nomogram’ both calculators for paracetamol overdose and treatment.
It is available for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android.
Another free app. It is packed with useful information on drugs (including OTC and herbals), conditions and procedures. Another great thing about this app is its interaction checker. I tried the ‘triple-whammy’ interaction but it did not pick this up. It did pick up CYP450 interactions. You can put in a list of medications and it will list all the possible interactions it has in its system. Its drug reference also contains some IV compatibilities which is not available in the Micromedex app.
It is available for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Blackberry and Android.
I have only needed a Spanish interpreter in a hospital a handful of times, but I still wish I had this app earlier. It has a great pharmacy section and audio so you don’t have to worry about your pronunciation. It won’t take the place of an interpreter, but may help with medication history interviews and counselling sessions before discharge. It is good to know that these apps are available for when there may be a delay in finding an interpreter. There are many translation apps but few that are specifically for medicine. MedSpeak do a medical Cantonese and Mandarin app. It gives me hope that other useful medical translation apps will become available. It is $4.99 and available for iPhone and iPad.
#5: NEJM This Week
This is a great free app for getting some CPD activities squeezed in while commuting. You get access to journal articles that have been made available online in the past seven days, images of medical conditions, weekly audio summaries and a selection of four full-text audio reads of Clinical Practice articles, streamed to your phone (internet connection required) and videos (but most of these are medical. It does say on the iTunes store that it will only be available for free for a limited time.
These are just a handful of apps that will make your job a little easier. Hopefully more apps will be produced in Australia specifically for Australian clinicians in the future.