Nurses are big fans of mobile-reference apps, too, says Grace White, director of nursing for Mental Health Mental Retardation of Tarrant County, an 11-site community mental health provider in the Fort Worth, Texas, area.
“For the doctors and the advance-practice nurses and psychiatric nurse practitioners, Epocrates is the No. 1 thing that everybody uses,” White says. She cited Epocrates as her top-rated app. Trust is a big issue with clinicians, she says.
“If someone just invents a new app, you don't know if you can trust it,” White says Because of its longevity, Epocrates has that going for it, too, she says.
Her No. 2 pick was the Infection Control Pocket Guide, an iPhone/iPad app that references Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. White's No. 3 choice was a drug reference guide called, simply, Psych drugs, specifically for psychiatric medication.
Nurses, some of whom are prescribers, work with patients using both of these drug guides to ensure those patients on multiple medications won't have drug-drug reactions. They also use the guides for counseling patients as to drug side effects, she says.
Dr. Daniel Vance practices at an 11-physician, three-nurse-practitioner primary-care group in Cleveland, Tenn., owned by 220-bed Skyridge Medical Center, part of Community Health Systems. Vance says he uses his No. 1 pick, UpToDate, on his iPhone or iPad “for just about everything as a source of medical information. I've been using it since it was on floppy disk.”
UpToDate was founded in 1992, before the dot-com boom, in the basement of the home of Dr. Burton Rose, a nephrologist and textbook author, after he pitched the idea of creating a PC-based medical specialty reference guide and was turned down by his publisher, according to a history on the UpToDate website. Today, it provides reference materials for 20 medical specialties and claims more than 600,000 customers in 150 countries.
Last week, the Chicago-based Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society released a report on its second annual survey on mobile technology, collected via the Web and telephone interviews with 180 healthcare IT leaders, predominantly from large hospitals.
Less than a quarter (22%) of the HIMSS-surveyed IT leaders indicated all of the data captured on mobile devices used by their organizations was integrated into their organizations' EHR systems. But another 22% said only a quarter of mobile data was captured on their EHRs, while 21% reported none of it was. When asked about their clinicians' concerns about mobile IT uses, privacy and security topped the list, well ahead of technical issues such as speed, support and device durability.
Consumers, meanwhile, are arming themselves with mobile devices at a breathtaking clip.
Sometime in 2012, an “inflection point” will have been reached in which shipments of smartphones outstrip those of PCs and notebook computers combined, according to estimates by Morgan Stanley researchers Katy Huberty and Ehud Gelblum. By the end of next year, they predict, shipments of smartphones will exceed PCs and notebooks by roughly a third.
But when it comes to functionality in mobile health IT, consultant Dr. Harry Greenspun, says, “What we've done is scratched the surface.” Greenspun is the lead author of a recently released report, mHealth in an mWorld: How Mobile Technology is Transforming Health Care, which says the number of mobile-device users who downloaded at least one medical or public healthcare support app will double between 2011 and 2012.