SPPACES: APP REVIEWS

Six Mobile Apps to Make Prescribing Easier

 

These apps can help you more effectively make medication decisions on the go.

Fam Pract Manag. 2018 Nov-Dec;25(6):11-16.

Author disclosure: no relevant financial affiliations disclosed.

Physicians and other clinicians use a wide range of mobile applications in their practices, and prescribing apps are the most common.1 Most prescribing apps are tied to online pharmaceutical databases, the use of which can decrease mortality and the number and length of hospital stays.2 The scope, completeness, accuracy, and ease of use of various databases has been studied extensively.

This article focuses on six commonly used pharmaceutical apps that were reviewed using FPM's “SPPACES” criteria. Key features, including interaction checking, drug monitoring information, dosing information, and pill identification, are summarized in a tabular format (see “Prescribing app comparison”).

KEY POINTS

  • Prescribing apps are the most common mobile apps used by physicians and other clinicians.

  • Physicians can use prescribing apps to choose the best medication for specific patient conditions based on efficacy, side effects, interactions, and other factors.

  • Some prescribing apps also provide easy access to medical calculators, pill identifiers, alternative medicine information, or education materials to share with patients.

PRESCRIBING APP COMPARISON

 Enlarge     Print

MedscapeUpToDateDrugs.comEpocratesClinical PharmacologyTarascon Pharmacopoeia

Antibiotic resources

X

X

X

X

X

X

Calculators

X

X

X

X

Dialyzability information

X

X

X

Drug interactions

X

X

X

X

X

X

Formulary information

X

X

Guidelines

X

X

X

X

X

Herbal interactions

X

X

X

X

Inactive ingredients list

X

Missed dose guidance

X

X

X

Monitoring parameters

X

X

X

Overdose treatment guidance

X

X

Pharmacogenomics information

X

X

X

X

X

Pill identifier

X

X

X

X

Pricing information

X

X

X

X

Rx images

X

X

X

MedscapeUpToDateDrugs.comEpocratesClinical PharmacologyTarascon Pharmacopoeia

Antibiotic resources

X

X

X

X

X

X

Calculators

X

X

X

X

Dialyzability information

X

X

X

Drug interactions

X

X

X

X

X

X

Formulary information

X

X

Guidelines

X

X

X

X

X

Herbal interactions

X

X

X

X

Inactive ingredients list

X

Missed dose guidance

X

X

X

Monitoring parameters

X

X

X

Overdose treatment guidance

X

X

Pharmacogenomics information

X

X

X

X

X

Pill identifier

X

X

X

X

Pricing information

X

X

X

X

Rx images

X

X

X

MEDSCAPE

The Medscape app is a comprehensive resource for medications, diseases, and medical calculators.

Source: WebMD Health Corp.

Platforms available: Android 4.0.3 or later (http://bit.ly/2Nhe3ik); iOS 10.0 or later for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (https://apple.co/2PyVfN2).

Pertinence to primary care practice: Medscape is listed as one of the most commonly used medical apps in multiple studies.1,3 The app provides an extensive resource for clinicians, including data on more than 8,000 medications and 7,600 diseases or conditions as well as step-by-step procedural articles and image collections. It also offers a consult service that allows users to confer with other physicians on diagnoses and treatment options and provides continuing medical education (CME) for some of its activities. The drug interaction checker can compare up to 30 medications, herbals, or foods simultaneously.

Authoritativeness/accuracy/currency of information: The app was developed with the help of physicians, PhDs, and pharmacists and relies on the medication database RxList and pricing database WebMDRx. Studies have rated Medscape as the most comprehensive app for geriatrics4 and best overall resource for pediatrics.5 A 2016 study determined the app had the best interaction checker and dose calculator among the 59 apps reviewed.6 An earlier test ranked Medscape as having the most complete and accurate medical calculator.7 Medscape has been downloaded more than 10 million times and has won multiple awards. The app was last updated in September 2018 (iOS) and October 2018 (Android).

Cost: Free.

Ease of use: Finding information about dosing, interactions, side effects, warnings, use during pregnancy, formularies, pricing, and administration is quick and easy, and the search function has an autocomplete feature. However, users cannot search for medications and herbals phonetically. The

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Rebedew is a family physician at Monroe Clinic in Albany, Wis., and a faculty member for the University of Illinois Rockford Family Medicine Residency.

Author disclosure: no relevant financial affiliations disclosed.

References

show all references

1. Franko OI, Tirrell TF. Smartphone app use among medical providers in ACGME training programs. J Med Syst. 2012;36(5):3135–3139....

2. Isaac T, Zheng J, Jha A. Use of UpToDate and outcomes in U.S. Hospitals. J Hosp Med. 2012;7(2):85–90.

3. Robinson T, Cronin T, Ibrahim H, et al. Smartphone use and acceptability among clinical medical students: a questionnaire-based study. J Med Syst. 2013;37(3):9936.

4. Anthony Berauk VL, Murugiah MK, Soh YC, Chuan Sheng Y, Wong TW, Ming LC. Mobile health applications for caring of older people: review and comparison. Ther Innov Regul Sci. 2018;52(3):374–382.

5. Morse SS, Murugiah MK, Soh YC, Wong TW, Ming LC. Mobile health applications for pediatric care: review and comparison. Ther Innov Regul Sci. 2018;52(3):383–391.

6. Loy JS, Ali EE, Yap KY. Quality assessment of medical apps that target medication-related problems. J Manag Care Spec Pharm. 2016;22(10):1124–1140.

7. Bierbrier R, Lo V, Wu RC. Evaluation of the accuracy of smartphone medical calculation apps. J Med Internet Res. 2014;16(2):e32.

8. Agoritsas T, Merglen A, Heen AF, et al. UpToDate adherence to GRADE criteria for strong recommendations: an analytical survey. BMJ Open. 2017;7(11):e018593.

9. Beck JB, Tieder JS. Electronic resources preferred by pediatric hospitalists for clinical care. J Med Libr Assoc. 2015;103(4):177–183.

10. KLAS Research. 2018. Best in KLAS: Software and Services. https://klasresearch.com/report/2018-best-in-klas-software-and-services/1253. Accessed Oct. 4, 2018.

11. Clauson KA, Marsh WA, Polen HH, Seamon MJ, Ortiz BI. Clinical decision support tools: analysis of online drug information databases. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2007;77.

12. Vaughan KT, Scolaro KL, Anksorus HN, Roederer MW. An evaluation of pharmacogenomic information provided by five common drug information resources. J Med Libr Assoc. 2014;102(1):47–51.

13. Polen HH, Zapantis A, Clauson KA, Jebrock J, Paris M. Ability of online drug databases to assist in clinical decision-making with infectious disease therapies. BMC Infect Dis. 2008;8153.

14. Kheshti R, Aalipour M, Namazi S. A comparison of five common drug-drug interaction software programs regarding accuracy and comprehensiveness. J Res Pharm Pract. 2016;5(4):257–263.

15. Marcath LA, Xi J, Hoylman EK, Kidwell KM, Kraft SL, Hertz DL. Comparison of nine tools for screening drug-drug interactions of oral oncolytics. J Oncol Pract. 2018;14(6):e368–e374.

16. Jebraeily M, Fazlollahi ZZ, Rahimi B. The most common smartphone applications used by medical students and barriers of using them. Acta Inform Med. 2017;25(4):232–235.

17. Kim BY, Sharafoddini A, Tran N, Wen EY, Lee J. Consumer mobile apps for potential drug-drug interaction check: systematic review and content analysis using the Mobile App Rating Scale (MARS). JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2018;6(3):e74.

18. Burdette SD, Herchline TE, Richardson WS. Killing bugs at the bedside: a prospective hospital survey of how frequently personal digital assistants provide expert recommendations In the treatment of infectious diseases. Ann Clin Microbiol Antimicrob. 2004;322.

19. Perkins NA, Murphy JE, Malone DC, Armstrong EP. Performance of drug-drug interaction software for personal digital assistants. Ann Pharmacother. 2006;40(5):850–855.

20. Clauson KA, Seamon MJ, Clauson AS, Van TB. Evaluation of drug information databases for personal digital assistants. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2004;61(10):1015–1024.

 
 

Copyright © 2018 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP. Contact fpmserv@aafp.org for copyright questions and/or permission requests.

Want to use this article elsewhere? Get Permissions

CME Quiz

FPM E-Newsletter

Sign up to receive FPM's free, weekly e-newsletter, "Quick Tips & Insights."

Sign Up Now