DrugInfoLine, a free app for iPhone, developed by American Pharmacists Association. It is a newsletter of interpreted drug and pharmacotherapeutic information designed to keep pharmacists up-to-date on the latest trends and news in pharmacy.Staying up-to-date in the pharmacy profession means staying relevant in patient care. For many pharmacists, unfortunately, education ends when they leave the school.
But only actively engaged pharmacist is a good pharmacist. The one that is never satisfied with their knowledge and always works on improvement of their skills. However, this is a lifelong commitment and is not something that can be done all at once.
New drugs are certified every day, so good pharmacist should be well-informed about industry guidelines, literature, continuing education (CE) and legislation.
There are several ways and tools that can help, from joining pharmacy organization, attending conferences, taking CE courses, reading literature, subscribing to pharmacy magazines and newsletters, and so on.
Mobile technologies, particularly mobile apps, could also be of a great help to keep you up with guidelines, continuing education (CE), and legislation.
One of such apps is DrugInfoLine, a free app for iPhone, developed by American Pharmacists Association. It is a newsletter of interpreted drug and pharmacotherapeutic information designed to keep pharmacists up-to-date on the latest trends and news in pharmacy.
The app opens to the Home page featuring articles (studies and guidelines) listed by date, with the most recent being at the top. Each article has published date and the section/medical category it belongs to. If you've ever visited APhA DrugInfoLine website you'd notice that the app uses the same layout, which is quite easy to use.
Opening any article will feature its summary with key points. For full access, users need to have APhA membership, which enables the pharmacist to access up-to-date news, trends, and resources, visit APhA meetings, purchase books, etc.
To become APhA members, users need to create an account, which is the first step in obtaining a membership. This, however, cannot be done in the app. Users need to register via the website, but this still doesn't mean getting an instant membership. So, before installing the app, be sure that you first get APhA membership for the full access.
The good thing is that articles open in the app, but this requires an Internet connection, so be sure to enable your Wi-Fi. If you failed to do this, the app may permanently freeze while trying to open the article, which would require a re-install.
This is a serious issue because there is no any message or warning about this. My common sense told me that the Internet connection might be the issue, so I tried again with my Wi-Fi on and succeeded.
However, I'm someone who's testing the apps on regular basis, so I'm familiar with potential problems and pitfalls that may show up during these tests. Less experienced or less patient users would simply delete the app or rate it negatively.
While the users who are not registered view only key points, the registered APhA members would see more detailed information, which is broken into sections also covering Finer Points, What You Need To Know, and What Your Patients Need To Know.
Information in the articles is concise, allowing quick on-the-go reading. There are also additional links provided for users to access more detailed information.
Users can browse the articles by Sections, covering the topics for a particular specialty, such as gastrointestinal or nephrology, diseases, such as infectious disease or HIV, drug type, such as lipids or anticoagulants, personalized care, including interactions and pharmacogenomics, and so on.
DrugInfoLine app also has a search feature that can be used for finding the particular topics or articles. However, it requires patience because it searches over 10 years of records. I tried this feature by typing in 'diabetes' and the app froze again. No loading icon, not 'Please wait' message, nothing. Just freeze, that forced me to shut down the app after a 10-minute wait, deleted it and install it again.
But, this time the Wi-Fi was on, so something else was a culprit. Hopefully, the app creators would find what it was and fix it.
Med Monitor section contains several categories focused on new drug and supplement approvals, as well as alerts and recalls, and product withdrawals. Again, non-members would see the summary of the article, while full access would require a membership.
Finally, there's More section that only provides information about the app.
Overall, DrugInfoLine app is a useful app, but only for users who obtained a membership of American Pharmacists Association (APhA), which isn't simple or instant process.
Occasional freezes and limited features make this app looks like an unfinished product. Let's hope that developers would fix that because DrugInfoLine has a potential to become a useful resource to all pharmacists.
Benefit: Pharmacists who are members of APhA