One of the first things we talked about on the Laupus Blog was Medical Applications for the iPhone/iPod Touch in February of 2009. We revisited the topic again in August of 2009 with Update on Medical Applications for the iPhone/iPod Touch, and we’re returning to the topic yet again. Why would we spend so much time on this topic? Mostly because it’s fascinating to us, but also because more and more medical apps are being developed every day. In this post, rather than trying to review different apps that are out there, I am going to focus more on sharing sites that review or list different apps. I am also trying to find more information on apps for the new Android phones. If you aren’t familiar with the Android phones, these are phones that are using the Android operating system. Some popular examples include the new Google phone Nexus One, Verizon Droid, and HTC Hero. These phones are thought to be major competitors for the iPhone because they also use a touch screen, but unlike the iPhone, are on an open source platform. Apps are sold through the Android Market rather than through iTunes. If you want to know more about the iPhone vs. the Droid phones, you may want to check out this article from PCWorld.
Recently, someone posted a couple of useful sites on the medical librarian list serv, Medlib. The first is the Mobile Medical Resources page from Kresge Library. This site does not list reviews for the products, but it does list mobile friendly resources, apps, and PDF/PDB resources. Icons are used to show which mobile platforms are supported by the resource. The second is the Android Medical Apps blog. Beware that the apps are not really reviewed, just listed.
While I was looking for reviews of mobile medical apps, I stumbled across iMedicalApps. This site appears to be the work of doctor, resident, and two medical students. Several of the reviewers are actually from North Carolina. These people are attempting to provide useful reviews for different apps, and while they mention that most of the apps happen to be for the iPhone/iPod Touch, they are trying to branch out into the new world of apps for the Android phones. This site is nicely organized with a list of categories and a tag cloud located near the bottom right hand side of the page.
One of the most promising and beneficial uses for mobile devices is real time access to patient data. Recently, at the Apple 2009 WWDC Keynote Address, they mentioned the development of a variety of apps made for clinicians by Airstrip Technologies. This takes place at 1:14:44 on the video (right after an app for a car racing game). You can get a better sense of what this company is planning to do with the suite of products by visiting the Airstrip Technologies Products page. Basically, there are 5 products in the last stages of development, and they are Airstrip: OB, Critical Care, Cardiology, Imaging, and Laboratory. All of them will be optimized to stream live patient data to physicians as long as they have access to a mobile device and a cellular network. Although the above mentioned video is for the iPhone/iPod Touch, it does look like this company is partnering with other mobile platforms such as Windows and Blackberry.
I like to follow a blog called MobiHealthNews. As you can see from the “About Us” page, this blog is not run by health sciences professionals at all, but rather by a former market analyst and a publisher who handles marketing and sales. They recently put out an article called 12 EMRs with Remote Access iPhone Apps that was particularly interesting. The title is a bit misleading since they actually talk about 11 EMRs in depth and many are available through Blackberry and Windows platform devices in addition to iPhones/iPod Touches. I did not see any mention of HealthSpan, the EMR used by UHS and PCMH here in North Carolina.
Although it’s not really an app, I want to mention the new Mobile MedlinePlus. The link to the mobile website is from their regular site, MedlinePlus, which is a wonderful source for consumer health information put out by the National Library of Medicine. The mobile website was released on January 15, 2009 after a considerable time of development and is available in Spanish as well as English. The mobile site does not contain all of the information from the normal site but does have links for Health Topics, Drugs, and Health News. Of course if a user needs more information, the full version of the site is conveniently linked at the bottom of the mobile version.
If you have information about medical apps or review sites for medical apps that you would like to share, please put them in the comments section along with any other feedback you might have.