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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 44-46

Professional usage of smart phone applications in medical practice

Department of Dermatology, M.V.J. Medical College and Research Hospital, Hoskote, Kolathur Post, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication27-Sep-2012

Correspondence Address:
Hari Kishan Kumar Yadalla
Department of Dermatology, MVJ Medical College and Research Hospital, Consultant Dermatologist and Cosmetologist, `Skin Care Clinic`, 70, Padma Nivasa, H.V. Halli, M.G. Extension, Raja Rajeswari Nagar, Bangalore - 560 098, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2278-344X.101656

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The professional use of mobile computing and communication devices such as the smartphones are increasingly becoming popular. With the advent of downloadable applications related to health and medical sciences, these are fast becoming a part of healthcare professionals. This article highlights the popular smartphone applications used among the healthcare providers and its role in revolutionizing the future of healthcare delivery system.

Keywords: Medical practice, smartphone applications, Mobile technology

How to cite this article:
Yadalla HK, Vijaya Shankar M R. Professional usage of smart phone applications in medical practice. Int J Health Allied Sci 2012;1:44-6

How to cite this URL:
Yadalla HK, Vijaya Shankar M R. Professional usage of smart phone applications in medical practice. Int J Health Allied Sci [serial online] 2012 [cited 2020 Aug 13];1:44-6. Available from: http://www.ijhas.in/text.asp?2012/1/2/44/101656

  Introduction Top

Smartphones are the new generation mobile devices, basically a combination of video iPod, an Internet device, and a touch screen phone. Smartphone's ability to integrate third party applications has increased its utility in a wide number of sectors-from educational to travel purposes, and from business sectors to healthcare fields. In the medical field itself, there has been a revolution. [1] Smartphone applications, such as those available in the Apple and Android application stores, are quickly becoming integrated into clinical practice by physicians. Smartphone applications are self-contained software applications that can be downloaded by and run from these advanced mobile phones known as smartphones. [2]

These features have helped the doctors and medical practitioners to tackle various medical emergencies, and have helped them to treat patients in the best possible way. From helping in medical education to displaying of information for patients, Smartphones have truly digitized the medical world. Using Smartphones has lessened the chances of misunderstandings between patients and the doctors by making simpler for the laymen to understand dosages and prescriptions. There are loads of Smartphone applications that are exclusively coded for the medical purposes. [3],[4]

  Smartphone Applications and Clinical Practice Top

There are now 10 275 unique applications (and counting) in the Application Store labeled under the "Medical" and "Healthcare and Fitness" categories. This is a significant increase from the 1 544 applications to present number and increasing since last year. The official application stores for five major smartphone platforms were searched: iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Nokia/Symbian, and Windows Mobile. We decided to update with the best applications for medical students and healthcare professionals. [5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10]

Here is a list of the best medical applications for physicians and medical students:


  1. MedCalc (Medical calculator) - MedCalc is a free medical calculator that gives easy access to a wide array of medical formulas and scores. It includes detailed information and bibliographic references for each formula.
  2. Drug infusion - An intravenous medication drip rate calculator designed for the ICU nurse or anesthesia provider. This ensures accurate calculations for dose, concentration or IV rate, and offers both weight-based and non-weight-based calculations with unit conversion flexibility.


  1. Medical terminology flashcards - The application includes thousands of medical terminology, abbreviation, prefix, and suffix cards. Flashcards can be labeled as "correct" or "incorrect." Those marked incorrect are automatically sorted into a "Focus On" deck. Some example decks include musculoskeletal system, cardiovascular system, the digestive system, nervous system, Dermatology In-Review Kodachrome Flashcard Series, and many more.
  2. Top 200 drugs flashcards - This application has more than 200 flashcards covering the top 200 most popular drugs. It allows to edit cards and add as tag favorites. Categories of information include trade name, generic drug name, drug class, schedule classification, and others.
  3. Speed muscles MD and speed bones MD - These applications are useful for high school, university, or medical school students studying human anatomy. The applications are more than just flashcards; they are games that test your speed and memory of identifying bones and muscles of the body.
General reference

  1. Medical encyclopedia - This comprehensive and free medical reference is from the University of Maryland Medical Center, one of the oldest academic medical centers. It contains more than 50 000 pages of in-depth and consumer-friendly medical information in both English and Spanish.
  2. Skyscape medical resources - A collection of free Medical Information and Decision Support resources for healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, physician assistants, medical students, nursing Students, and others.
  3. The merck manual - Healthcare professionals have been using the Merck Manual for more than 100 years. This gives information on thousands of diseases, treatments, and clinical approaches to each disorder. The application allows users to access content from anywhere (no Internet connection required), perform full text searches, bookmark favorite topics, and record history of topics which have been viewed.
  4. Medscape from WebMD - Medscape is a popular free medical application. It offers a huge drug reference library, a disease/condition library (with info summaries, differentials, diagnostic workups, treatments, meds, and follow up), procedures and protocols, and a drug interaction checker. These are organized with their own menus, and subdivided by body system. Searchable directories of doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies; medical news articles; and even continuing education credits obtained by reading articles and answering questions on them. Finally, all of the articles can be saved for future reference, so can collect and keep the pieces of information that matter most.
  5. PubMed central, PubMed mobile - This provides a simplified, mobile-friendly Web interface to access PubMed. PubMed contains millions of article citations from thousands of biomedical journals. Many citations include abstracts. The National Library of Medicine's "PubMed for handhelds" engine and third-party applications offer searches structured by diseases and conditions, medical specialties, differential diagnosis, drugs and medications, and journals and medical news or use a latent semantic analysis framework.
  6. Epocrates - It is one of the must have smartphone applications for medical professionals. It is available for Android phones, and online for use on desktop or notebook computer. It has searchable drug reference, listing all of the US FDA-approved prescription drugs and their individual details.
  7. MedlinePlus mobile - Authoritative consumer health information from MedlinePlus.gov in a mobile-optimized Web site that includes summaries for more than 800 diseases, conditions, and wellness topics as well as the latest health news, an illustrated medical encyclopedia, and information on prescription and over-the-counter medications.

Lab tests

  1. Normal lab values - Displays normal laboratory values to help medical professionals interpret test results. Reference values are shown in US and SI units. This includes search field to find values quickly.
  2. Pocket lab values - The perfect companion for medical students, residents, nurses, and other medical staff while working in a hospital. It provides quick access to common laboratory values, quick info about a particular laboratory value, as well as it has links to sites such as Wikipedia, Google, and MedlinePlus.
  3. Laboratory gear medical - Lab Values, Differentials, and Symptoms - A Quick pocket tool for medical laboratory tests. Includes more than 250 different laboratory tests from most systems (e.g., hematology, immunology), testing sources (e.g., urine samples, amniotic fluid), and laboratory types (e.g., enzymes, lipids, red blood cells).
Terminology and abbreviations

  1. Medical terminology and abbreviations quick reference - This is one of the highest used medical terminology applications of all time. It provides a comprehensive medical dictionary for physicians and students.
  2. Eponyms (for students) - It allows for quick look up, the meaning of more than 1 700 medical eponyms using full text search or by selecting from one of 28 categories. Users can create a starred list of eponyms to track those they tend to forget. There is also a "learn mode" that will randomly display an eponym from the category visited.
  3. Taber's medical dictionary - Contains more than 60 000 terms, 1 000 photos, and more than 600 Patient Care Statements. Also, included are medical abbreviations, symbols and units of measurement, immunization schedules, nursing diagnoses, and more.
  1. NEJM this week - Provides the latest research, review, and editorial opinion articles covering biomedical science and clinical practice. Provides access to articles published online in the last 7 days, including reviews, commentary, and case materials. Features weekly audio summaries, four full-text audio reads, and four procedure videos of clinical practice articles, streamed directly to the phone.
  2. MedPage today mobile - Delivers breaking medical news, journal search, audio reports, and video reports straight to the phone or iPad. MedPage Today has daily coverage of more than 30 specialties and annual coverage of more than 60 meetings and symposia. The only service for physicians that provides a clinical perspective on the breaking medical news that their patients are reading. Physicians and other healthcare professionals may also receive Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits at no cost by completing electronic educational programs co-developed by MedPage Today and The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Office of Continuing Medical Education.

  Conclusion Top

Most healthcare professionals desire current clinical information and decision support at the point of care. Smartphones can provide both by accessing traditional medical textbooks, professional society guidelines, drug references, and institution-specific therapy standards. Medical calculators simplify the bedside use of medical equations, scores, stratification, and risk prediction and prevention models. Smartphones can assist with physical examinations using applications to check hearing, eyesight, and color recognition; evaluate mental status; or photograph or video document physical findings. [11]

Taking full advantage of current technology means wireless retrieving of the most up-to-date information anywhere anytime. Hospitals and laboratories have been high-tech for half of a century, but practitioners not so much until now. With PDAs and smartphones, the technology has made it all the way clinician at the "point of service." Smartphones like the iPhone 4 and Droid now offer a dizzying array of medical applications for Practioners, students, and those who want to become physician assistants. [11],[12] Clinical use of smartphones and applications will likely continue to increase, and we have here illustrated few high-quality and popular applications with a strong desire among physicians and trainees.

  References Top

1.Daniel CB. Smartphones in clinical practice, medical education, and research. Arch Intern Med 2011;171:1294-6.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Krishna S, Boren SA, Balas EA. Health care via cell phones: A systematic review. Telemed J E Health 2009;15:231-40.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.MobiHealthNews. The World of Health and Medical Apps. See http://mobihealthnews.com/research/the-world-of-health-and-medical-apps [Last accessed on 2012 Jan 24].  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Terry M. Medical apps for smartphones. Telemed J E Health. 2010;16:17-22.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Hamilton AD, Brady RR. Medical professional involvement in smartphone apps in dermatology. Br J Dermatol. 2012 Jan 27. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2012.10844.x. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 22283748.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Oehler RL, Smith K, Toney JF. Infectious diseases resources for the iPhone. Clin Infect Dis 2010;50:1268-74.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Franko OI. Smartphone apps for orthopaedic surgeons. Clin Orthop Relat Res 2011;469:2042-8.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Dala-Ali BM, Lloyd MA, Al-Abed Y. The uses of the iPhone for surgeons. Surgeon 2011;9:44-8.  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Baumgart DC. Personal digital assistants in health care: Experienced clinicians in the palm of your hand? Lancet 2005;366:1210-22.  Back to cited text no. 9
10.Rosser BA, Eccleston C. Smartphone applications for pain management. J Telemed Telecare 2011;17:308-12.  Back to cited text no. 10
11.Boulos MN, Wheeler S, Tavares C, Jones R. How smartphones are changing the face of mobile and participatory healthcare: An overview, with example from eCAALYX. Biomed Eng Online 2011;10:24.  Back to cited text no. 11
12.Manhattan Research. Physician smartphone adoption rate to reach 81% in 2012. [Last accessed on 2012 Mar 08].  Back to cited text no. 12

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