by Brett Einerson and Iltifat Husain
Health care professionals and students using Android are probably wondering what free Android apps may be helpful in the health care setting.
Android developers continue to add more apps to the Market that relate to health and medical practice. While the field of apps relevant to health care professionals on Android lags far behind the iPhone OS platform, there are several apps worth noting.
Here, we look at some of the more useful medical apps for clinicians, and list a few apps for patients as well.
The fact that we chose a “Top 5″ (and not “Top 10″), indicates just how limited the Android Market currently is for free medical apps. If you compare this list to the “top 10 free medical apps for the iPhone” list, you’ll see what we mean.
It is hard to believe that an app as useful and effective as Epocrates is available for free. The Epocrates team did a fantastic job of making the user interface come to life and the app is extremely useful at the point of care.
Many Android users will download Skyscape simply to get the Archimedes, a highly useful collection of hundreds of commonly used medical calculators. Skyscape, however, does have other medical resources for health care professionals and students. For Android users with OS v1.5 or lower who cannot run Epocrates, one of Skyscape’s main features, “Rx Drugs,” is a fine substitute. Outlines in Clinical Medicine (OCM) comes with the free version, and is particularly useful for students learning a new topic in medicine (e.g. pediatric vaccination schedules). Users, however, will find many of Skyscape’s more robust features unavailable in the free-edition.
PubMed Mobile is a clean app for quick searches of abstracts on PubMed. It lacks full-text link capability, but allows the user to select and read abstracts, save searches and articles, and send articles to the printer, email, or social networking websites.
CPR – Choking
A wonderfully simple video-based app for learning basic life support skills on the fly. The depth of information may not be sufficient to learn every caveat of BLS – and it certainly does not touch on ACLS, but for a quick refresher or first-time learner this app is a great starting point.
SmrtGuard and Contact Owner
This is a bit of a cop-out, lumping two apps into one ranking. Mobile security, however, is of utmost importance in health care, particularly as app developers move to create mobile interaction with electronic medical records. SmrtGuard is the most functional free security app.
Through a remote website users can track, data wipe, call-forward, remote listen, and backup data on their mobile device and SD card. So if you lose your mobile device with sensitive information on it, you can wipe its data remotely. The app is free, except for two features – remote backup and data restore to a new mobile device – which require an upgrade to the Pro version ($2.99 per month for 12 months).
Contact Owner is a basic app that displays a message about the owner’s contact information (or the information for an emergency contact) on the lock screen. With contact information displayed on the lock screen, a person who finds your lost phone knows who to contact without accessing the phone’s data.
Brett Einerson is a contributor and Iltifat Husain founder and editor of iMedicalApps.com.
Originally published in MedPage Today.
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