Nearly all family physicians carry powerful computers in their pockets, loaded with reference information and connected to vastly more on the Web, says Joshua Steinberg, MD, an assistant professor of family medicine at Upstate’s Binghamton Clinical Campus.
“If you collect good resources and know how to get what you’re looking for efficiently, you should be able to answer a great number of questions at the point of patient care with but a few clicks, in less than 20 seconds,” Steinberg writes in the fall issue of Family Doctor, a journal of the New York State Academy of Family Physicians.
He recalls the various manuals, pharmacopeias and guides on which he relied during medical training. Today, much of that information is replaced by apps that are downloaded onto smartphones. Eleven of his favorites include:
ePocrates, a free drug reference that includes pill sizes, dosing, renal and hepatic insufficiency adjustments, out-of-pocket pricing and more.
“Anyone can remember that quinolones mess up Coumadin. But when a patient feels lousy, can you gaze at a list of 14 meds and pick out the four that might interact with each other? ePocrates will do this for you.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vaccine Schedules app, and family medicine’s own Shots Immunizations app, which provide the typical schedules for kids, teens and adults. Both includes tables of vaccines by medical indication, catch-up schedules and additional details about particular vaccines.
The Infectious Disease Compendium, a concise resource of nearly any entity or microbe, with parenteral and oral regimens and alternatives that will work around allergies – plus hot links to evidence in the literature to support numerous assertions. “You will actually enjoy using this app,” Steinberg writes. “The tracts are peppered with wisecracks, sarcasm and all manner of humor.”
x Calculate, which organizes frequently used medical calculations such as BMI, Framingham cardiac risk, fractional excretions of sodium and others.
DueDateCalc, the modern version of an OB wheel.
The Electronic Preventive Services Selector, or EPSS, which organizes the screening and preventive services that have been reported by the United States Preventive Services Task Force.
PreopEval, which combines the guidance on preoperative clearance and perioperative management from several authoritative guidelines.
Contraception Pocketcards, a reference that offers comparative contraception effectiveness, quick start algorithms, medical contraindications table, pill formulations, and more.
Warfarin Guide, which combines a Warfarin adjustment protocol from American Family Physician with indications, targets, and durations of therapy as recommended by the American College of Chest Physicians.
BiliCalc, for providers who do newborn care. This gives bilirubin levels, along with details about which infants are at risk for needing phototherapy. Providers input the newborn’s age in hours and the bilirubin level, and the app shows the data on a graph.
STD 2010, provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This app gives concise and comprehensive information about sexually transmitted diseases.