Providing you info on the go
by Healthcare Professional Digest
Not so long ago, healthcare professionals working in facilities had a distinct advantage over their home healthcare counterparts. They could use their computers at work to access information to aid in the care of their patients.
But in recent years, the playing field has begun to level, with the introduction of mobile applications (apps) that home healthcare professionals can download to their smart phones and other handheld computing devices. With these apps, you can access current and evidence-based information at the point of care (POC). And, unlike print references, some of these apps provide updates, such as new drug indications, warnings and newly marketed drugs. Best of all, many of the mobile apps are either low cost or no cost.
To get you on your way, here are some of today’s most popular apps. Whether you use an Android or Apple mobile device, you can download all of them. (Fewer are available for Blackberry and Palm users.)
Free mobile apps
Epocrates provides up-to-date information on thousands of drugs. With pill pictures and a drug interaction checker, it helps you identify pills by physical description and describes the effects of combining different drugs. It includes a drug guide, drug monographs, medical news, calculators, health plan formularies and continual free updates.
Medscape features a comprehensive drug reference (including herbals and supplements); drug interaction checker; disease and condition reference and treatment guide; procedures reference; hospital, pharmacy and physician directories; over 150 videos; and offline access to clinical references without an Internet connection.
Reach MD CMEis an accredited app for continuing medical education. With it, you can download and listen to relevant medical programs and then take the certification test, all on your mobile device. New content is added each week.
Evernote lets you create text, photo and audio notes and save them to your Mac or Windows desktop. The notes are completely searchable, wherever you are.
SkyScape Medical Resources is a collection of medical information and decision support resources. When you install this app, you download four free resources at once:
- RxDrugs comes with dosing guidelines and a multi-drug analyzer tool for thousands of commonly used brand and generic drugs and nearly 400 integrated weight-based drug dosing calculators. Dosing guidelines on a variety of medications are continuously updated. Formulary information covering 5,000 health plans in all 50 US states is also included.
- Archimedes is a medical calculator with more than 200 interactive tools and over 150 of the most commonly used medical formulas, organized by specialty. It features easy calculator selection via multiple indexes, the ability to use it with conventional (US) or SI units, and full supporting formula detail and explanations for all calculations.
- Outlines in Clinical Medicine presents evidence-based clinical information on hundreds of diseases and symptom-related topics in a convenient outline format. It includes topics in the fields of general internal medicine, internal medicine subspecialties, emergency medicine, family practice, geriatrics, pediatrics, gynecology, obstetrics and neurology. The information is updated throughout the year.
- MedAlert delivers in-context and specialty-focused journal summaries, trial results, breaking clinical news, drug alerts and other information, delivered to your mobile device.
Low-cost mobile apps
Available for Apple and Android users, Pocket Lab Values provides access to over 320 laboratory values, sorted systemically and by diagnosis. The app also has editable normal values and notes that allow you to update your patient’s labs so you can cross-reference them from the app to real life. ($2.99)
Created for Apple and Android users, Nursing Essentials features vital assessment information, as well as updated reference information on drugs, infusions and laboratory values; medications; blood products; calculations; fluids, electrolytes and acid-base imbalances; and IV, PO, SQ, IM and IO administration procedures. Quick navigation takes you to critical information; custom bookmarks allow you to quickly return to your favorite pages. Spanish translations and a pain assessment chart are included. ($5.99/$7.99)
RNotes offers you easy access to the latest, clinically-focused nursing information across a wide range of topics. You can browse or search the conveniently organized content for quick reference information along with full-color images and charts. The app also helps you prepare for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) by noting topics covered on the exam. ($29.95)
Some mobile app considerations
New apps continue to come out on a regular basis. To search for the one that’s right for you, first determine your specific needs. Then, check your device’s online app store, or put the appropriate keywords into a computer search engine like Google or Bing.
If you find an application that’s available in free and paid versions, download the free version to determine the app’s ease of use and to evaluate the content quality. But, remember, a free version may have limited features. You can also do an online search to see what other users think about the app.
If you haven’t tried out these new tools yet, give them a go. Mobile apps can help you stay informed, organized and better prepared to provide high-quality care — without spending a lot of money.