Doctors turn to medical apps for reference materials

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Epocrates is an app that gives doctors access to drug prescribing information and performs BMI and GFR calculations in addition to medical news and research.
Epocrates is an app that gives doctors access to drug prescribing information and performs BMI and GFR calculations in addition to medical news and research.

As smartphones are becoming more popular, medical apps are more common, and many doctors are turning to new apps for reference, according to the medical director at the Student Health Center.

Dr. Keith Willmore said most doctors at the health center commonly use four apps: Up to Date, Epocrates, Micrometics and Medscape. Up to Date and Epocrates are used the most and also have websites.

“Currently most of us use the websites more than the apps just because we’re sitting by computers most of the day, so it’s quicker,” Willmore said.

The apps used at the health center are geared toward clinicians and require subscriptions. The doctors use the apps for up-to-date reference materials. Epocrates, which is listed as the top app used by physicians by Medical Economics, is not only a reference tool, it also gives users access to medical news and research.

There are also many medical apps geared toward patients to supplement their treatment. Willmore said patients should have the app for WebMD and First Aid from American Red Cross. However, patients should be careful which apps they trust.

“There’s a lot of information on the Internet that is based on someone’s opinion,” Willmore said. “They need to make sure it’s from a source that they can trust.”

Willmore said patients should look for apps from clinics, WebMD, John Hopkins University or those that are sponsored by medical schools.

There are many medical apps for patients for specific conditions. According to Medical Economics, four of the top five physician recommended apps are for diabetics. Each of the apps helps diabetics live a healthy lifestyle by providing tracking for things such as glucose, glucose and weight.

Apps can also help with conditions such as stress. Stress Doctor is a biofeedback app that uses a phone’s camera to detect heart rate and the rise and fall of heart rate as a person breathes. According to Barbara Morrell, co-coordinator of the Stress Management and Biofeedback Services at BYU, the app can help train a person to use slow breathing to feel calmer.

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