These bedside questions usually include proper dosing, detailed pharmacology, interactions, side effects, pregnancy and breastfeeding safety, and formulary issues. Answering them would be difficult if physicians don't have useful resources at their fingertips.
Here, we list some essential drug reference apps that medical providers should have installed on their iPhone and Android smartphones.
Drugs.com is probably best known drug reference website, which provides detailed information about various medications, interactions and side effects, clinical trials, and other relevant information. While it's been designed primarily for healthcare professionals and consumers in the United States, many people worldwide use Drugs.com as main resource of information about various drugs.
Drugs.com also developed Medication Guide mobile app, which provides comprehensive and up-to-date information about medications to iPhone and Android devices.
The app allows users to search a variety of medication related info, use an interaction checker or pill identifier, side effect database, and so on.
Medication Guide app basically offers two versions of the app, first being more patient-oriented, intended for medical professionals, while the second is the patient version that focuses more on a financial aspect, i.e. the cost for popular drugs. The users can toggle between versions at any time.
Version for healthcare professionals offers a variety of useful options, including My Med List, FDA alerts and monographs, symptom and interaction checker, Dosage, etc.
We already mentioned Epocrates app in our article about best healthcare apps that medical professionals should have installed on their phones. It's one of the oldest medical apps and an essential drug and medical reference app.
Some of the Epocrates app's essential features include Drugs database, Interactions Check, Pill ID, Guidelines, and many more. Many of these features are only available if you purchase a subscription at the price of $174.99.
Paid version of the app provides more comprehensive content, which include information about various diseases, alternative medications, clinical practice guidelines, lab guides, and other useful content that turns Epocrates into more than just a drug reference app. However, many users may find its price a bit too much, especially knowing that they already have fully functional app for free.
While Drugs.com Medication Guide and Epocrates remain the most used mobile drug reference apps, they got strong competitor in Lexicomp app. This app is probably the best and the most comprehensive medication reference app currently available on app stores.
It doesn’t just provide clear and concise drug information, including dosing, administration, warnings and precautions, but high quality clinical content as well, which is suitable for physicians, dentists and pharmacists.
However, it has one huge drawback, which is its price. Lexicomp app requires users to pay a subscription that ranges from $175 to $798 a year, depending on the package they choose. The app offers one month free trial, but that's probably not enough to browse through all the content and databases provided in the app, which is nothing short of amazing and includes drugs guide, calculators, interaction guide, pharmacogenomics, toxicology, lab tests and diagnostic procedures, and pediatric 5MCC among many other topics.
Another app mentioned in our article about essential medical apps that every healthcare provider should have installed is Omnio. It's not just drug reference app, but it also consolidates other clinical resources and information into one app, including comprehensive drug guide with formulary from 7,000 health plans, Merck Manual, various medical calculators, interaction analyzer, pill identifier, ICD-10, lab interpretations, newsfeed and many more.
All content provided in Omnio app is backed up by trusted authority resources, with links.
Omnio app is an exhaustive customizable medical resource that any medical professional may need in their clinical practice.
Inappropriate and unnecessary use of antibiotics is one of the biggest problems in clinical practice. While antibiotics are essential for treating bacterial infections, bacteria can adapt and become resistant, which is directly linked to inappropriate prescription and overuse of antibiotics.
To prevent antibiotic resistance and overuse, it is extremely important to use them in the right and know how and when to prescribe antibiotics. Knowing all this is much easier if you have guidelines at your fingertips, installed on your mobile devices.
Among many apps that address the problems of antibiotic overuse and resistance there is GP Antibiotics mobile app, a simple and free pocket reference for the current NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde antimicrobial guidelines. Although made for the healthcare providers in Scotland, this app can be used elsewhere, if medical providers find it in accordance to their local guidelines.
GP Antibiotics app contains up-to-date antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal and other antimicrobial management guidelines for the infections commonly encountered in adults and children. It provides all information in straightforward easy-to-follow manner, which can be essential in a hectic primary care setting.
MicroGuide app is another app that addresses antibiotic use. But, unlike GP Antibiotics app, it focuses on providing point-of-care assistance with management of infectious diseases and complex antibiotic therapy.
The app evolved from "Pocket Guide" made by a team of doctors from Southampton General Hospital primarily for pharmacists, which became popular not just among them, but also among new residents and medical students.
MicroGuide app contributed in a sustained reduction in prescribing of high-risk broad-spectrum antibiotics from 40% to 28%. This coincided with a fall in Clostridium difficile infections from 60 a month to less than 10, which can be also credited as the app's biggest success.
Most breastfeeding moms are facing important question about necessity of staying medication-free when they're breastfeeding. But, there's no simple answer to this question that bothers healthcare professionals as well.
Most drug packages advise caution when breastfeeding, warning that breastfeeding moms should consult their doctor first, or not take the medications at all. But the catch is that even doctors are often not sure about what drugs are safe to take while breastfeeding.
The aim of LactMed app for Android and iPhone is to help medical providers, as well as breastfeeding mothers figure out which medications are safe, risky or dangerous from the comprehensive database of drugs and dietary supplements that may affect breastfeeding.
Antibiotics are not the only medications being unnecessarily prescribed and used. They share the spot with opioid analgesics, which are the most common method of managing chronic pain. However, similarly to antibiotics, opioid analgesics are frequently and unnecessarily prescribed as a first-line therapy not only for chronic, but also milder pain, which puts patients at risk of prescription opioid overdose.
Healthcare providers play a key role in protecting the patients, and they often resort to the guidelines and recommendations published by CDC for all primary care providers who are prescribing opioids for chronic pain.
CDC also developed a CDC Opioid Guideline mobile app aiming to help providers apply these recommendations to their daily clinical practice in order to make informed opioid prescribing decisions.