Google improves symptom search

I’m sure most of you have Googled for medical advice at one time or another. I know I’ve performed quick Google searches for healthcare information, including specific drug information.

It turns out that a lot of people search for symptoms online, and the information isn’t always helpful. Sometimes a little information can send people’s minds cascading into full panic mode, i.e. get a tension headache, search for symptoms and end up thinking you’re dying from a brain aneurysm.

Google understands the problem and has improved symptoms search.

Roughly 1 percent of searches on Google (think: millions!) are symptom-related. But health content on the web can be difficult to navigate, and tends to lead people from mild symptoms to scary and unlikely conditions, which can cause unnecessary anxiety and stress.

So starting in the coming days, when you ask Google about symptoms like “headache on one side,” we’ll show you a list of related conditions (“headache,” “migraine,” “tension headache,” “cluster headache,” “sinusitis,” and “common cold”). For individual symptoms like “headache,” we’ll also give you an overview description along with information on self-treatment options and what might warrant a doctor’s visit. By doing this, our goal is to help you to navigate and explore health conditions related to your symptoms, and quickly get to the point where you can do more in-depth research on the web or talk to a health professional.

As I mentioned above, I’ve used Google to look for pharmacy specific drug information. Most of my colleagues do the same thing on a regular basis. It’s amazing what can be found with a few key words and the click of mouse.

We live in a digital world. Information has never been more accessible nor more overwhelming. Clinicians have unfettered access to information that one couldn’t have imagined just ten years ago. Information has become cheap, plentiful, and readily available to anyone with internet access. Journals, reference books, provider forums, clinical trial hubs, drug monographs, study data, and so on can be accessed anytime, from anywhere. This thanks to the development of cellular networks and mobile devices. Everything is simply a click away.

I still work an occasional per diem shift at a local hospital, and take my word for it when I say that it’s never been easier to access information. When I compare this to how I gathering information when I became a pharmacist some twenty years ago, my head spins.

I’ve always wondered what it would be like if one were to give Google access to all the currently available literature and reference material in real time. The idea of such a vast amount of knowledge at one’s fingertips is mind boggling, to say the least.

Lexicomp’s new Drug ID mobile module [video]

Lexicomp has a new Drug ID module for their suite of mobile applications.

Based on the Tweet I thought the new application would identify “loose drugs” with the camera on a mobile device like Medsnap, but that’s not the case.
Continue reading Lexicomp’s new Drug ID mobile module

Access to information and learning

“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” ― Albert Einstein

I’ve recently returned from the ASHP Summer Meeting. I learned some new things, which serves as a reminder to me of the importance of continuous learning and access to information in our profession.

As a pharmacist I’ve been involved in a lot of systems over the years designed to keep me up to date. All have been successful in their own way, but obviously some were better than others.
Continue reading Access to information and learning

SharePractice – a collaborative clinical reference for physicians

Here’s an interesting concept.

SharePractice is an application that uses the idea of crowdsourcing other physicians to rank treatments for various disease states.

“Good doctors make bad decisions because knowledge sources are incomplete and static. Medical reference tools are biased by business interests and take too long to update. Reading research papers is an antiquated process that most busy doctors just don’t have time to read.

It is challenging for doctors to remain aware of new or effective treatments because there are no easy ways for us to communicate, evaluate and share clinical insights. So we call, text, email, use forums and go to conferences. But this data is not collected and it is lost.

Share Practice gives doctors power to collaborate on treatments and rate clinical efficacy.  Our next generation medical reference gives every doctor the ability to ‘publish’ findings, get feedback from the community, review conventional therapies and incorporate new and integrative medicines into the collective knowledge-base.

Share Practice is the most current source of medical information, contributed to and maintained by doctors around the world. Beautifully simple, mobile and freely available, Share Practice is built for doctors; by doctors.”

Check the video below to get a better idea of what SharePractice is.

Saturday morning coffee [March 2 2013]

MUG_WisconsinWelcome to March everyone. So much happens each and every week that it’s hard to keep up sometimes. Here are some of the tabs that are open in my browser this morning along with some random thoughts….

I picked up the coffee mug to the right in Fitchburg, WI last summer while on a business trip. I drove there from Chicago after stopping off to visit a hospital in Winfield, IL. Wisconsin was a pretty nice place to visit in the summer. I wasn’t able to do a bunch of touristy stuff, but I did get a chance to see a movie at one of the nicest movie theaters I’ve ever been in. The theater was big, and it had a piano in the lobby. Strange thing about Wisconsin, they have the nicest highway rest stops I’ve ever used. If you’re ever in California I’d avoid the rest stops; good place to skip.
Continue reading Saturday morning coffee [March 2 2013]

Saturday morning coffee [January 12 2013]

Welcome to my first Saturday morning coffee post of 2013. Here are some of the tabs that are open in my browser this morning along with some random thoughts….

The coffee mug below was a Christmas present from my youngest daughter, Mikaela. Apparently she reads my blog; yeah, I’m as surprised by that as anyone. She thought I needed a customized coffee mug to go along with my Saturday morning coffee post. I’m thrilled to be displaying it here today for the first time. I had to move it down because it deserved an image from both sides.

Christmas SMC Mug
Continue reading Saturday morning coffee [January 12 2013]

Lexicomp offering deal on new subscriptions until the end of July

In my opinion Lexicomp is still the gold standard for pharmacist drug references. I don’t use any of the Lexicomp references these days as I no longer have a need, but I used to use them all the time. I remember using Lexi-drugs on my Palm Pilot (actually a TRGPro) back in the day.  The reference went everywhere with me because my TRGPro was always in my pocket.
Continue reading Lexicomp offering deal on new subscriptions until the end of July

Medical calculators available on Medscape Mobile app for Android

Medscape Mobile is a nice little free app to have on your Android device. It’s no Lexi-comp, but it’ll certainly do a respectable job in a pinch.

I’ve been accessing Medscape for years. I think it may have been the first online reference site I subscribed to. I frequently read through the pharmacy news section of the site. It’s pretty good.

Anyway, I received an email notification that the Android version of the app now includes medical calculators. The calculator selection is pretty good. No awesome pharmacokinetics calculators like RxCalc (shameless plug), but still pretty good.

I spent a little time playing with it yesterday. I’ve included some screen shots below (click to enlarge).

You can grab the app for free at the Google Play store here. Enjoy.

UpToDate now available for #Android

The Palmdoc Chronicles:

Android users rejoice. If you are an UpToDate subscriber, you now can download the new UpToDate Android app.

Find clinical answers at the point of care or anywhere you need them! Now you can access current, synthesized clinical information from UpToDate® — including evidence-based recommendations — quickly and easily on your AndroidTM phone or tablet. This app is free to download. However, an individual subscription is required to log in and use it.
Features of UpToDate include:
• Persistent login
• Easy Search with Auto-complete
• Bookmarks and History
• Mobile-optimized Calculators
• Ability to earn CME/CE/CPD credit

This is the first public release of the Android app for UpToDate. Like the first UpToDate iOS mobile app, you need to login and you need an Internet connection. It is more convenient to have a native app rather than access UpToDate from the browser and you get more options than just the browser version. I suppose eventually UpToDate will release an “UpToDate Complete” for Android much like the iOS UpToDate Complete.
Update: It seems that this first release, although a free app, is available only to those who have access to the Google Play store in North America.

Continue reading UpToDate now available for #Android