As the healthcare industry embraces the cutting edge of information technology, a mobile device has become a more valuable tool for most doctors than the venerable stethoscope. Healthcare apps have popped up to support every aspect of the industry. Here are the top five ways medical professionals use mobile devices on the job.

  1. Medical News and Journal Articles: Following the migration of print news media to the web and subsequently to mobile devices, healthcare news is now most easily accessible through apps. Medical professionals rely on these apps to stay current with the latest research, discoveries, drug releases, and public health trends. Plus, getting the news on a smartphone allows access to new media forms like the Harvard School of Public Health’s podcasts.
  2. Recording Patient Information: Increasingly, doctors are using medical apps to take notes during patient visits and to record dictations. But mobile devices allow for the creation of much richer records than the traditional pen and tape recorder, such as by incorporating photographs of a scoliotic spine or worrisome moles. When linked with electronic healthcare records (EHRs), mobile devices seamlessly add data to a patient’s file for convenient, secure, and reliable storage.
  3. Medical Calculator: A medical calculator has long been an indispensable tool for medical professionals to handle the countless formulas, equations, and algorithms developed in modern medicine. Purpose-built medical calculators have largely been replaced, initially by computer programs and now by mobile apps. A smartphone can calculate everything a doctor needs in daily practice, from simple figures like body mass index and the Parkland formula to complex functions like the Henderson-Hasselbalch equation.
  4. Drug Prescriptions: A medical calculator can also be used to calculate prescription drug dosages, but this is just one of the mobile tools available to help physicians prescribe medications. Drug prescription apps check for drug interactions and provide a full range of information on available prescriptions. App-sourced information has the benefit of frequent, nearly-instant updates, whereas doctors using print materials like Monthly Prescribing Reference must wait longer for updates.
  5. General Reference: Finally, mobile devices provide doctors with quick and easy access to the vast supply of medical information they must use in day-to-day practice. Residents and interns are not the only ones who sometimes have difficulty keeping track of the absurdly large number of eponyms (terms named after people) and rarely used bits of anatomy; medical professionals can use apps for quick references to all kinds of detailed knowledge. Disease and drug monographs, condition images, and more are all accessible on any mobile device.

As technological innovations are linked more thoroughly to instruments and records, mobile devices are becoming truly indispensable in every aspect of medical care. How would you like to see technology applied to improve healthcare?

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