Technology: Patient Care Apps; Increased Practice Efficiency.
Apps are everywhere, and have the potential to play an important role in patient care. Downloading apps will soon be an American tradition, similar to back in the day when fathers chased their kids around with power tools. I told my boss I was turning thirty and getting my first smartphone, he smiled and said he had socks older than me. So, I did what any new associate would do. I bought him new socks. He chased me around the office with an alger brush.
Turns out your smartphone and sock drawer have more in common than you think. When I was a youngster, not a whole lot went into the sock drawer. It wasn’t hard to reach in and grab a matching pair. The older I get though, the more socks go into the drawer and it’s much harder to find two that go together. In fact, I have a lot of lonesome socks. Studies have shown, if the missing sock does not reappear within the first 24 hours, your chances of finding that sock decrease by 75%. Sounds like my practice consultant on uncollected Co-pays. The same applies to my phone, the longer I have it the more junk it collects. I have a bunch of old apps cluttering my wallpaper in hopes one day I’ll actually use that Ab workout app I downloaded months ago.
Therefore, if you haven’t updated your smart phone or tablet devices this year, you’re likely in the floppy disk age of apps. So if you’re like me it’s time to ditch those lonely socks, stop living life in the cheap seats and get yourself some sexier apps!
1. Parks 3-step (Cost: $0.99)
Have a patient with double vision?? There’s an app for that, seriously. There can be many reasons patients have diplopia. It’s possible they need prism, vision therapy, or need to lay off the eyeball martinis. Or they may have a paretic extraocular muscle and you need to diagnose it. If you’ve forgotten everything about the parks 3 step except it involves hypers, obliques and head tilts you need the Parks 3-step app. It utilizes your device’s built-in gyroscope and accelerometer to predict the paretic EOM in two swift movements. Enjoy!
Pros: Simple, quick, accurate way of performing the Parks 3-step without diagrams.
Cons: Needs option to input data manually in addition to turning phone and some updated animations.
2. Medical Lab Tests (Cost: $2.99)
Medical Lab Tests was designed primarily for doctors, nurses and medical students. It can also be used by anyone who wants to know the meaning of different blood tests. This app is packed full of very detailed and easy to find information. Can you recall the normal value of TSH or the reference value for triglycerides? This application will help you! This app isn’t free but will cost roughly the equivalent of a side of guacamole at chipotle. You may need it sooner than later because signed into law last year was AB 761, which in a nutshell allows OD’s to be defined as a “lab director” in order to perform CLIA waived tests in their office, rather than having to order these tests from a lab. You can read more about AB 761 on the COA website. You probably won’t need this app for paternity or random urinalysis testing. Nonetheless, it has you covered for the most common laboratory tests and their interpretation for CBC, cardiac tests, liver and pancreas, lipids and much more.
Pros: Offers you short and concise information including normal lab values of the most common clinical laboratory tests.
Cons: Cost. I’m debating on that side of guacamole at Chipotle.
4. Eye Handbook: (Cost: FREE)
Optometry, being one of the areas of medicine that people outside of the field know very little about, has often been given the short end of the stick when it comes to the number of apps available. However, unquestionably the front-runner among app for optometry is Eye Handbook. It will raise your eye Q. It’s my absolute favorite optometry app and it’s free! It’s a comprehensive app with plenty of useful resources and most frequently used app on my iPad. It’s loaded with an ocular disease atlas, ICD-9 codes, patient education videos on LASIK, multifocal IOLs, punctal plugs, uveitis and much more. It even has a built in fluorescein light. Color vision and amslers grid, yuppp. This is the party favor app you pull out to show your friends. But really, this app has it all. It’s a great resource tool for clinical applications as well as networking in forums with other ophthalmic professionals. Eye Handbook’s collaboration with the American Academy of Ophthalmology also gives it an instant injection of credibility. To top it off, for those in need of some new pediatric resources, they have pediatric fixation targets and an optokinetic drum.
Pros: Plenty of useful resources, patient education, OC disease Atlas, ICD-9 codes etc…
Cons: Few compared to the advantages. The media center is a bit of a mixed bag, rough around the edges, not everything is particularly useful.
5. CL Calcs: (Cost: $4.99
This app is a lite version of the EyeDock app without the need for an EyeDock membership. Are you a little rusty on those RGP calculations?? This is a great tool especially for those that don’t see RGP’s on a consistent basis. It’s especially useful for the initial start on designing an RGP lens including bitorics. The diagrams are clear and concise. Overall, it’s easy to use. It’s best utilized for designing an RGP, vertexing tool for spectacles, post-surgical keratometry conversions all in the palm of your hand. The oblique cylinder over-refraction tool is very helpful. It’s a good app, especially for those offices that don’t have any contact lens reference materials like a TQ. It also provides contact lens calculators and much more. In addition, this is an excellent app to begin, as well as for designing other contact lenses.
Pros: Easy to use RGP calculations, vertex converting, oblique cross- cylinder calcs
Cons: Cost and would love to see enhancement of adding the hybrid lens designs like the synergeyes A or Duette Lens
6. Epocrates: (Cost: FREE)
Epocrates Rx is a a free drug reference application featuring thousands of drug monographs, drug-drug interaction checker, pill identifier, and health plan formularies. There’s a reason it’s the #1 mobile drug reference among U.S. physicians. I use this app often at work and is much easier & convenient than searching thru a drug book. You can check drug interactions with OTC medications and also has a great pill ID if you need it. This product also includes free continual updates and medical news. It is simple to download and easy to use. The product is also available in versions that include information on disease diagnosis, including images, diagnostic tests, insurance codes, alternative medicines, and a medical dictionary. Epocrates Rx is a great clinical reference for quickly accessing information regarding drugs, adult and pediatric dosage information, interactions, and contraindications. The information is always current and accessible instantly. I suggest everyone get comfortable with the software and take advantage of all it has to offer.
Pros: Quick access to reliable drug, disease, and diagnostic information
Cons: Doesn’t work great on older phones, mechanism of action is generally sparse