It may not surprise you to know that 90 percent of Americans own a cell phone, according to the most recent data from Pew Research. Of that number, 64 percent own a smartphone, giving them easy access to the hundreds of thousands of Android and iOS mobile apps available now.
For the general public, the top apps continue to be Facebook and Google, with Apple Music sliding into the top 10 in 2015, Nielsen reports. For doctors, however, the most popular apps are those that save them time, keep them informed, and improve productivity and patient care. Here’s our roundup of the top five apps for doctors, plus a few bonus suggestions.
For industry news: Read by QxMD
Keeping on top of advances in medicine and in specific specialties is important for doctors. Using a magazine format, Read by QxMD allows you to download and read a variety of medical literature in one place, from PubMed articles to research studies. (For iOS and Android; free, though some journals require a subscription)
Bonus pick: Ophthalmologist Damien Goldberg, MD, says one of his must-have apps for his professional needs is Millennial EYE, an all digital, app-based publication and online community for eyecare professionals. (For iOS and Android; free)
For clinical purposes: Epocrates
More than one million active members (50 percent of whom are U.S. physicians) use this app to look up drug information, find other providers for consults and referrals, and access patient-specific guidelines at the point of care. (For iOS and Android; free, though access to additional functionality requires an in-app purchase of Epocrates Essentials for $159.99/year).
Bonus pick: Highly-rated Figure 1, dubbed “Instagram for doctors,” allows medical providers to view and share medical images with other physicians for diagnostic or educational purposes while guaranteeing patient privacy. (For Android and iOS; free)
For patient care: Virtual Practice for Doctors
This app, named one of the top 10 for doctors by Healthcare Global, aims to make communicating with patients and managing a practice as easy as using email or social media. The app provides instant access to patients’ health records, allows doctors to remotely monitor patients, schedule appointments, and even enables video consultations and online billing and payments. (For Android and iOS; free)
Bonus pick: Because patient communication can be hindered by language barriers, ophthalmologist Tal Raviv, MD, swears by MediBabble (for Android and iOS; free). The app translates pre-set phrases into five different languages to help healthcare providers take an accurate health history from non-English-speaking patients.
For productivity: Evernote
The “clear leader of the pack” among productivity apps, according to Medical Economics, this note-taking app may eliminate the need for a medical scribe. Doctors can dictate notes, take photos or screenshots, and save articles or other data, all of which Evernote categorizes into a searchable database, so you can find it later without digging through files. (For Android and iOS; free)
Bonus pick: How much time do you lose resetting passwords you’ve forgotten? 1Password (for iOS; free) creates a secure password for your various accounts and then remembers them so you don’t have to. A plus for any busy person, “especially if you’re about to go and download a veritable ton of apps,” says Wired.
For free time: Waze
Whether you’re on your way to a meeting or a movie, the last thing a busy doctor needs is to waste precious time in traffic. That must be why this global navigation app got multiple mentions on doctors’ top apps lists. Local drivers share real-time traffic and road info, and suggest off-the-beaten-path alternate routes. Fun fact: the GPS app is voiced by actors including Morgan Freeman and Arnold Schwarzenegger. (For Android and iOS; free)
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