By Brian Dolan & Chris Gullo
It has been an ongoing challenge for healthcare professionals to find useful apps for care settings. While a handful of blogs exist with recommendations from individual medical students or physicians, Happtique has emerged as a filtered medical app store of sorts that intends to make it easier for healthcare facilities to distribute apps. Happtique recently announced 11 hospital partners will pilot its offering.
Around the same time, Apple launched a new healthcare app section for professionals. In its first iteration this "iTunes healthcare room" is a small space that highlights slightly more than 50 of the 3,662 medical apps found in the app store that are intended for use by medical professionals. (For more on those, be sure to check out our report on Professional Medical apps.) You could assume then, that these 50 apps are the top 1.3 percent of medical apps in Apple's opinion.
Unfortunately, this iTunes room, this special healthcare apps section for medical professionals is not very easy to find. While there may be others, the only apparent link to it is on Apple.com's iPhone enterprise section. It's buried. The AppStore sometimes features an ad for the section but not always. How does that really help medical professionals find apps then?
Finally, the original intent of Apple's medical category was for it to be a section of apps for healthcare professionals. A medical student suggested Apple create it, and they did. The curation of the section was poor, however, and today it offers thousands of apps intended for use by consumers -- many of which aren't even health-related.
So, what appear to be Apple's top 1.3 percent of medical apps for healthcare professionals? We have compiled a slideshow of the apps below and broken them into the categories that Apple uses in its healthcare professionals section. Curiously, almost all of the apps in this section also have made for iPad versions, too. Read on for a brief description of each and some screenshots of the apps' iPad versions:
Definition: Medical reference apps provide information about medications, diseases, conditions, and other medical topics.
The Merck Manual - Professional Edition
The Merck Manual's iOS app is a digital version of its reference text. Users can browse the app by section and by symptom, and the app automatically logs what sections users have read.
WebMD for iPad
WebMD's iPad app for consumers includes a symptom checker, drug & treatment information, first aid essentials, and local health listings. The app also includes a pill identification tool.
WebMD's physician app had the distinction of being the most downloaded free medical app of 2010. It includes a drug interaction checker, procedure reference, and daily medical news updates.
Microdex Drug Information
The app is described as "a free resource for on-the-go access to the industry’s most trusted clinical reference information, providing users the peace-of mind of knowing the information is from Micromedex, coupled with the ease of use of iPhone and iPad."