Apps for O.D.s
There's an app for almost everything nowadays, and the eyecare field is no exception.
Lindsey Getz, contributing editor
App stores are rife with medical-related apps. In fact, as of 2011, 3,660 such apps were available to iPhone users, says a report from MobiHealthNews, a provider of news and research for the global mobile health community. (www.mobihealthnews. com). But, that's not to say all are necessarily helpful, says the publication's editor-in-chief and cofounder, Brian Dolan.
“… Sifting through them all can be time consuming,” he says. “I equate it to the early days of the Internet and websites: Doctors don't know which websites they could rely on for good info.”
Mr. Dolan says he believes medical professionals are filtering apps by talking to each other.
To simplify the sifting process even more, here's a list of clinical and business management ones you may find useful, say your tech-savvy colleagues.*
The clinical apps that may facilitate patient care:
► 3D Brain (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory), free. This app offers views of the brain and allows you to rotate and zoom around 29 interactive structures, such as the temporal lobe and brainstem. Further, each structure comes with information on its functions, disorders, damage, case studies and links to current research.
► BI VisionSim (Braille Institute), free. The Braille Institute's VisionSim app enables you to experience the vision of those who have glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration, among other eye conditions. In addition, you can obtain detailed information about each condition.
► EyeDock (Eye Dock/Todd Zarwell, O.D.), $43/year subscription to the website required to download app. Created by an O.D., this website/app, exclusively for the iPhone, is a clinical reference guide for eyecare professionals. It includes a searchable contact lens, ocular pharmaceuticals and ICD-9 database as well as contact lens prescribing calculators.
► Eye Handbook (Cloud Nine Development), free. Eye Handbook is a multi-faceted application that includes patient education, preferred practice patterns, ophthalmic calculators, such as diopter-to-radius conversion, an atlas of ophthalmic images, RSS feeds, ocular testing, coding, ocular disease symptoms, a snapshot of ophthalmic equipment, pharmacopoeia and a treatment menu, among other information.
► E RX (Epocrates, Inc.), free. This app offers free clinical information on thousands of prescription, generic and over-the-counter drugs, a pill ID to identify medications by imprint code and physical characteristics, an adverse reactions check between up to thirty drugs at a time, dozens of calculations (such as Body Mass Index) and current medical news, research and information.
► EyeXam (Global Ventures, LLC), free. Developed by eye doctors, this self-guided vision screening app for mobile devices includes tests for astigmatism, color perception, eye dominance and visual acuity, among others. Also, the app includes a “Doctor Finder” feature. (See “What's New,” page 74.)
► Kareo iPhone App (Kareo), you must be a Kareo customer on either the Complete or Max plans.) This app, exclusive to Apple Inc. products, enables you to keep track of patient appointments. It works with the company's medical billing software and displays the patient's name, age and contact information, appointment notes, etc.
► iPrescribe (iApp Creative, LLC), $9.99/month or $79.99/year. This is a standalone electronic prescription app exclusively for Apple, Inc. products that allows you to transmit and receive electronic prescriptions. It is preloaded with more than 3,500 FDA-approved medications and is certified via Surescripts for new prescriptions and refills.
► LUMA Vision Simulator (Eyemaginations Inc.), free to all Eyemaginations LUMA clients. This iPad app facilitates patient education regarding eight common eye diseases, such as dry eye, through images of pathology. Disease progressions are showcased in up to eight anatomical views and four corresponding POV scenes. In addition, the app has an on-screen drawing functionality.
► Medical Lab Tests (Medicon), $2.99. Medical Lab Tests covers common laboratory tests, and their interpretation. Categories: red blood cells, white blood cells, coagulation, electrolytes and metabolites, arterial blood gas, enzymes and proteins, ions and trace metals, cardiac tests, liver and pancreas, lipids, hormones and immunology.
► Medscape (WebMD), free. This app includes drug reference (more than 8,000) and disease and condition guides (more than 4,000), a medication interaction “checker,” daily medical news, a Medline article database and healthcare-related directories. Also, you can save, email or share medical articles. Recently, a medical calculators feature was added that includes 129 different medical formulas, scales and classifications.
► Ophthalmology i-pocketcards (Börm Bruckmeier Publishing, LLC), $4.99. With this app, exclusive to Apple, Inc. products, you can get information on ocular conditions via a table of contents, which includes eye anatomy, dysfunctional tear syndrome, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration, among other conditions.
► Optics Clinical Calculator (Regular Rate and Rhythm Software/Evan Schoenberg), $4.99. Created by an ophthalmologist, this app provides access to clinical calculators used daily in prescribing lenses and understanding optics. Examples: lens power in oblique meridians, optical center decentration and vertex distance. Results are provided instantaneously, and formula explanations and their application are also available.
► Parks 3 Step (Calgary Vision Centre/Robert Burke, O.D.), $0.99. Using your device's builtin gyroscope and accelerometer, this app, exclusive to iPhone 3G, iPhone4, iPad and iPad2, and developed by an O.D., determines the underacting extraocular muscle leading to the vertical deviation. In other words, it's meant to be a quick and accurate way of performing the Parks Three Step test.
► Skyscape Medical Resources (Skyscape) free. This app includes data on thousands of drugs, including interactions, pill images, more than 400 integrated dosing calculators and formulary information that covers 5,000 healthcare plans in all 50 states. In addition, it includes evidence-based clinical information on several diseases as well as symptom-related topics, journal summaries and breaking clinical news, among other features.
► STAT ICD-10 Coder (Austin Physician Productivity, LLC), free. This app, exclusive to Apple Inc. products, lets you access more than 60,000 ICD-10 diagnostic codes fast. It removes browsing, as all codes are downloaded to your device. Quick retrieval is achieved via disease classification in a drill-down format, so typing isn't necessary. The diagnosis name and ICD-10 is shown one line per diagnosis.
► Vision Test (Essilor), price unavailable. This is a vision-screening app, exclusive to Apple, Inc. products, that assesses the user's visual acuity, astigmatism, color vision and distance vision. It also includes eye advice and a doctor locator.
The following apps may enable you to streamline the business aspect of your practice:
► Demandforce Mobile (part of the Demandforce system www.demandforce.com). The mobile app version of this automated marketing and communications program enables you to e-mail and text patients with appointment reminders and/or marketing campaigns and determine the success of such campaigns with real-time results and analytics. In addition, it provides social media tools, such as Facebook applications and automated patient surveys regarding your practice. The app also includes customer referral information, a customer review filter and an online syndication network, among other tools.
► Dropbox (Dropbox), free. This file-sharing app enables you to sync and share files of any kind to and from any of your computers and smart devices. In other words, any file you save to Dropbox becomes accessible from all your computers and smart devices. And when updating a file one place, it becomes updated everywhere. Should any of your devices break or get stolen, they are also available on the Dropbox website (www. dropbox.com).
► Evernote (Evernote Corporation), free. This app enables you to take photos, create text, record audio files and upload them to the Evernote servers, so you can access them from your smart phone, tablet or any other computer. Further, you can add tags and descriptions to these items. For instance, if you attend a trade show and see a diagnostic device you really like, you can take a photo of it, name it, and tag it with “device I want to buy” for access at a later date.
► TweetDeck (TweetDeck, Inc.), free. This Twitter interface may be a useful application for keeping up with your patients and keeping your tweets organized and managed. Specifically, it enables you to arrange your feeds, filter tweets, schedule tweets, etc.
► WebEx Meetings (Cisco), free. With this app, you can participate in Cisco WebEx meetings via your Android, iPad or iPhone. Specifically, it enables you to see presentations, applications and documents, including live annotations, a list of attendees (and live), zoom and rotate the image and start an instant chat, among other features.
Sorting it out
It can be an overwhelming process to cull through all the medical apps to determine which ones will benefit your practice. Talking to your tech-savvy colleagues, coupled with this list should facilitate your decisionmaking. OM
* The features of each app may vary, depending on the device that employs it.
Optometric Management would like to thank the following doctors for contributing to this article: Ernie Bowling, O.D., Frank Giardina, O.D., Alan Glazier, O.D. Sally Halim, O.D. and Dominick Maino, O.D., Med, F.A.A.O., F.C.O.V.D.-A.
|Lindsey Getz is a Philadelphia-area-based freelance writer, who has written for several consumer and trade magazines. She is also a former editor of Eyecare Business magazine (a sister publication of Optometric Management). E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send comments to optometricman email@example.com.|