MDs Usin’ Smartphones

June 17th, 2009 | Sources: Washington Post


A fair share of Georgetown University family practitioner Steven Schwartz’s patients can’t name one or more of pills they’re taking.

betterthanastethoscope“But usually they can tell you what it looks like,” he told the Washington Post. “They might say it’s a blue, triangular pill for hypertension.”

So Schwartz whips out his iPhone, accesses Epocrates, one of 674 medicine-related applications for the device sold on iTunes, inputs pill descriptors like color, shape and so forth, and voila! He’s presented with a list of matches from which he can deduce the identity of his patients’ mystery pills.

Schwartz and many tens of thousands of other clinicians also use the handheld device to display instructional diagrams and videos for patients, check for drug-drug interactions, view X-rays and write electronic prescriptions.

About 64% of physicians now use smartphones, according to Manhattan Research, a market research company.

BlackBerrys are also popular. At GW and Johns Hopkins for example, more than 95% of the smartphones used by clinicians are BlackBerrys, Mike McCarty told the Post.

The chief network officer at Hopkins explained that most of the provider’s medical software runs Windows, as does the BlackBerry.

1stgenerationsmartphone“I think over time we will be replacing pagers with these devices,” McCarty added.

“Every clinician I meet says they want to be carrying one device, rather than two or three.”

Ohio State University’s medical school plans to distribute an iPod Touch to every medical student by fall, according to Catherine Lucey, the vice dean for education.

“It allows residents and students to ask questions at the bedside, and not rely on memory and not guess,” Lucey told the Post. “I predict that in a couple years, all medical schools will be using them.”


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