There’s an app for that?

Healthcare professionals share their must-have apps.

by Melanie Wolkoff Wachsman

What do owners of the iPhone, Android, BlackBerry or some other smartphone have in common: A love for apps. Let’s face it, the variety and availability of smartphone applications has exploded in recent years, and it seems that everyone has a favorite. Medical News checked in with a few of our readers who shared with us their must-have app.

Name: John Mandrola, M.D., cardiac electrophysiologist
Employer: Louisville Cardiology Group, which is part of Baptist Medical Associates, Baptist Hospital East, Louisville Ky.
Favorite App: Evernote
Cost: Free!
Where I use it: On all devices, mobile or computer. I use an iPad, iPhone and MacBookPro.
Why I like it: Evernote allows me to remember, catalog and synch important information. Though not specifically medical, I use Evernote to mark important web pages or links. Most doctors receive daily email notices of important medical news. These stories often come with links to studies or press reports. Evernote allows me to take a snapshot of a visited web site and log it into a specific notebook, say blood thinners, or ablation, or statins, or well, the list is endless. And once remembered and cataloged on Evernote, I can bring it up on any device, be it an iPad, iPhone or MacBook.It synchs stuff with a tap of a button. Never again will you sit back down to the computer and think, where was that page or link? Doing research on a problem or case—just add links to notebook on Evernote. You can read it later on another device.

Another cool feature of this virtual notebook is as a note taker. As a medical blogger, the ability to tap out an idea, save a picture or even dictate a message on Evernote is priceless. (It even comes with a capable word processor.)

Bloggers see life as an endless field of possible blog posts. Thoughts pop in my head. I think, “Man that was cool; I have to write about that.” Now, I tap Evernote and make a note (or add a pic). And there it is later on another device.

I highly recommend Evernote to medical professionals. In this age where professionals are besieged by constant and disorganized information, Evernote offers a way to focus and catalogue the important stuff—a powerful tool indeed.

Name: Dr. Glenn Loomis, president and CEO
Employer: St. Elizabeth Physicians, Crestview Hills, Ky.
Favorite App: Writepad, Dropbox and BoardEffect
Where you use it: I use Writepad on my iPad, and Dropbox and BoardEffect on my iPad, iPhone and home computer.
Cost: Writepad: $9.99, Dropbox is free for 2 GB usage; BoardEffect is free with a subscription to the company.
Why you like it: Writepad allows me to take handwritten notes, and it translates them into typed text. It has macros and other helpful tools that make it great for taking notes and keeping my many meetings in clear and running tabulations.

Dropbox allows file sharing between all my devices and between groups of people. It’s great for keeping me and my assistant in synch.

BoardEffect allows board and committee packets to be uploaded and then the users can download it on their iPad and take notes. It’s very easy to use and efficient.

Name: Daniel Eichenberger, M.D., primary care physician and CPOE consulting physician
Employer: Physician Associates of Floyds Knobs LLC, Floyds Knobs, Ind.
Favorite App: Pill Identifier
Where you use it: iPhone, iPad
Cost: Free
Why you like it: It is a very quick and easy way to identify pills patient bring in to the hospital or office in their pill containers. It allows me to verify it is what they are prescribed.

With generics coming in many sizes, shapes and using different names from what patients are accustomed to seeing or hearing, this app has identified and prevented several problems.

Name: Stephen Hensley, M.D., gynecologist
Employer: St. Elizabeth Physicians, Women’s Health Cold Spring, Ky.
Favorite App: I know I am a geek, but my two favorite apps (for now) are Words with Friends and the app for my electronic medical record (Epic).
Where you use it: I use Words with Friends half and half on iPhone and iPad. The emir app I use only on the iPad.
Cost: Free
Why you like it: I use Words with Friends because I like playing my friends and relatives, and I hope using a game like this will help ward off Alzheimer’s. I like using the emir because it makes my life easier.

Name: Christina Breit, M.D., physician
Employer: Dupont Internal Medicine, Jewish Physician Group, Louisville, Ky.
Favorite App: Lose It!
Where you use it: iPhone
Cost: Free
Why you like it: You’re able to track your food intake, your calories and exercise.

Download these apps the iPhone App Store or Android Google Play.