To iPhone, or not to iPhone: on Verizon is the question

I saw an article in this mornings USA Today regarding the impending availability of the iPhone on Verizon. Of course this isn’t really news as “the event” was inevitable. The rumor has been active for years now and Android has been chipping away at Apple’s dominance in the smartphone market for quite some time.

Now that the iPhone is available on Verizon, the question everyone will be asking themselves is “should I dump my current Verizon device and move to the iPhone?” It’s a good question and I’m sure many, many people will do it. Then again, I assume many ex-Verizon-switched-because-of-the-iPhone-but-now-I’m-unhappy-with-AT&T customers will simply switch back.
Continue reading To iPhone, or not to iPhone: on Verizon is the question

RxCalc 1.2 ready for download – want a free copy?

RxCalc 1.2 has been approved by the powers to be at Apple and is now available for download in the iTunes store.  For those of you that don’t know about RxCalc, it is a pharmacokinetics calculator made by Apple Core Labs specifically designed to handle aminoglycoside and vancomycin kinetics, i.e. new starts and adjustments. I’ve been intimately involved with the development of RxCalc, and you can read more about what drove the idea and the development of it here if you’re interested.
Continue reading RxCalc 1.2 ready for download – want a free copy?

RxCalc 1.1 now available for the iPhone and iPod Touch

After a week of sitting in iTunes store limbo, RxCalc 1.1 was finally approved and released for download yesterday afternoon. For those of you that don’t know about RxCalc, it is a pharmacokinetics calculator made by Apple Core Labs specifically designed to handle aminoglycoside and vancomycin kinetics, i.e. new starts and adjustments. It’s exciting for me because I was involved in the creation of the application. You can read more about what drove the idea and the development of RxCalc here if you’re interested.
Continue reading RxCalc 1.1 now available for the iPhone and iPod Touch

PracticeRx by Doctor’s Digest for the iPhone

I saw this application in the new issue of Hospital Pharmacy. PracticeRx is an application from Doctor’s Digest that provides informational practice tips and various alerts on health care related topics

The registration process is quick, easy and requires that you identify your profession and specialty practice area. There are some screen shots below that show the process. I’m not clear why they want to know your specialty area, but assume the application attempts to tailor the information to your area of interest.

I haven’t had a lot of time to explore PracticeRx, but the overall layout is nice and I found some of the small articles interesting. One annoyance is the pop-up screen that appears when you first log in. I understand the need to advertise, but a little more discretion would be appreciated.

Apple, AT&T and Verizon: Can’t you boys figure out a way to play together?

Medical Smartphones: “We all know that the AT&T network is having difficulty keeping up with the data load caused by a multitude of iPhone users. What will happen when the iPad becomes available? Will the networks get more congested? Will AT&T have the necessary infrastructure to provide adequate 3G services for all these new iPads that will be floating around?” – Joseph goes on to ponder how long it will take Versizon to get the iPhone as his wife is eagerly waiting for it. I too have been waiting for the iPhone to drop into Verizon hands. Even though I’m satisfied with my Droid, I will convert to the iPhone once available through my carrier. Unless, of course, something better comes along in the meantime. The reason why I would switch is simple; the iPhone is so widely used among healthcare professionals that application development for the device is on the forefront of technology. If you can’t find it for the iPhone, then it probably doesn’t exist.

So, what will happen when the iPad hits AT&T? I have no idea because I don’t plan to buy one with 3G. I will use the device like I use my iPod touch now; inside the walls of my house, the hospital and Starbucks.

Efficacy of handhelds for radiologic consultation

To continue with the radiology theme from yesterday: Toomey RJ, Ryan JT, McEntee MF, et al. Diagnostic Efficacy of Handheld Devices for Emergency Radiologic Consultation. Am. J. Roentgenol. 2010;194(2):469-474.

Abstract: Diagnostic Efficacy of Handheld Devices for Emergency Radiologic Consultation
OBJECTIVE. Orthopedic injury and intracranial hemorrhage are commonly encountered in emergency radiology, and accurate and timely diagnosis is important. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the diagnostic accuracy of handheld computing devices is comparable to that of monitors that might be used in emergency teleconsultation.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS. Two handheld devices, a Dell Axim personal digital assistant (PDA) and an Apple iPod Touch device, were studied. The diagnostic efficacy of each device was tested against that of secondary-class monitors (primary class being clinical workstation display) for each of two image types—posteroanterior wrist radiographs and slices from CT of the brain—yielding four separate observer performance studies. Participants read a bank of 30 wrist or brain images searching for a specific abnormality (distal radial fracture, fresh intracranial bleed) and rated their confidence in their decisions. A total of 168 readings by examining radiologists of the American Board of Radiology were gathered, and the results were subjected to receiver operating characteristics analysis.
RESULTS. In the PDA brain CT study, the scores of PDA readings were significantly higher than those of monitor readings for all observers (p 0.01) and for radiologists who were not neuroradiology specialists (p 0.05). No statistically significant differences between handheld device and monitor findings were found for the PDA wrist images or in the iPod Touch device studies, although some comparisons approached significance.
CONCLUSION. Handheld devices show promise in the field of emergency teleconsultation for detection of basic orthopedic injuries and intracranial hemorrhage. Further investigation is warranted.

I’m not as sharp as many of you so I had to actually look up the word roentenology, which means “Radiology, the science of radiation and, specifically, the use of both ionizing (like X-ray) and nonionizing (like ultrasound) modalities for the diagnosis and treatment of disease.”

According to the article “the scores of PDA readings were significantly higher than those of monitor readings when all observers’ readings are taken into account” and “no statistically significant differences between handheld device and monitor findings were found for the PDA wrist images or in the iPod Touch devices studies, although some comparisons did approach significance.”

An interesting follow-up to this study would be to insert an iPad into the same scenario against the iPod touch. I would be very interested to see how radiologists would react to that. The iPad would offer similar functionality to the iPod touch with the advantage of a larger screen. I can only speculate that more screen real estate would be preferred over less screen real estate for radiologists if given a choice. Just a thought.

Pocket anatomy app for the iPhone

medgadget: “eMedia Interactive Ltd. out of Galway, Ireland has released an iPhone app to help learn the anatomy of the heart. Using the Pocket Heart app, one can browse the organ in three dimensions using zoom and rotate features, identify individual components, and take quizzes to test one’s knowledge. This simulator might also be helpful to medical students, residents and clinicians learning to perform echocardiography, by allowing to correlate echo images to the anatomy. So grab the Pocket Heart and head to our own EchoJournal to learn more about cardiac echoes.” – Pocket Heart is a nifty little application. Go check out the website and run through the demo.

Best iPhone / iPod Touch Applications for Pharmacists

iPhone_pharmappsThe iPhone and iPod Touch have created quite a wave in healthcare, and along with the wave has come a plethora of healthcare applications. The user interface on the iPhone/iPod Touch combined with the ease of accessing applications on Apple’s iTunes store and the relatively inexpensive nature of most applications, have made these devices a favorite among healthcare professionals.

With the volume of healthcare related applications available, I’m surprised at how few I actually use. I spend quite a bit of time surfing the app store looking for new applications that I can apply to pharmacy. I’ve downloaded numerous applications, but have deleted most for one reason or another.

My “research” has led to the list below of applications that I find most useful as a pharmacist.

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Yep, there’s an EMR app for the iPhone

Healthcare IT Consultant Blog: “It appears Caretools has thought of this, offering its iChart EHR for the iPhone, immediately available to anyone on the iTunes store. Before you scoff that it must be a limited-functionality, toy of an EHR, consider this: it offers ePrescribing, transmission of lab reports, ICD9-compliant billing code functionality, and a sophisticated menu system to quickly create SOAP and Procedure notes. It might not be CCHIT-certified (yet) or guarantee your eligibility for “meaningful use” funding, but at such a low price point, it could be a great way to get your physicians comfortable with standard EHR functionality.” – I took a quick jaunt over to the Caretools website and gave the application the once over. I think it’s pretty cool. At a mere $139.99 it’s about the cheapest EMR system you’re going to find on the market. You can read more about it at the iPhone Life website. Next thing you know, you’ll even be able to make phone calls directly from your iPhone.