In a 2015 survey conducted by InCrowd, nearly 90 percent of the participating nurses reported using smartphone healthcare apps at work. Why are they turning to their smartphones? The nurses surveyed said they used healthcare apps on their devices to research diseases and disorders, look up drug information, and stay in touch with their professional colleagues. While no one thought that an app could replace a medical professional, the nurses said that apps offered a way to get information quickly and helped them to make educated suggestions for patient care. What healthcare apps are ideal for nurses?
With an ever-expanding array of medications and a mindboggling mix of brand-name and generic formulations, it is easy for even experienced nurses to encounter drugs that seem unfamiliar. An award-winning medical reference app, Epocrates provides instant information on drugs, drug interactions, pill identification, clinical practice guidelines and more. This version is free and available for both iOS and Android mobile devices. An upgraded version, Epocrates+, offers everything that the free version of the app does, and it also includes useful information about diseases, labs, infectious diseases, medical codes and alternative medicine.
The IV Drip Rate Calculator from DTsEMT has a simple interface that is designed to allow nurses and paramedics to calculate the correct IV drip rate quickly and easily. Users input the drug amount in grams, milligrams, micrograms or units and the volume of fluid, and then they select the dose ordered. The app immediately provides the milliliters per hour necessary to deliver the selected dose. This app is invaluable when modern IV pumps are not available.
In an ideal world, an experienced translator who is fluent in medical terms would always be on hand when a patient who does not speak English needs care. Unfortunately, things do not work that way in the real world. While it is always best to have an approved translator on hand, MediBabble Translator can help nurses communicate with these patients and facilitate care when no translator is available. The app is designed for medical situations, but it utilizes nonclinical words that patients commonly use to describe symptoms or respond to questions. A free app available for iOS and Android mobile devices, it requires no internet connection to function once it has been downloaded.
A networking website for nurses and nursing students from all around the world, allnurses.com offers a chance to catch up on the latest news in nursing, communicate with peers and explore potential career paths. The app of the same name offers the same tools. While on the go, users can search content, follow their subscriptions, read forum threads and post replies, vote in polls, and upload images. This app is free and available for iOS and Android mobile devices.
Nurses and patients alike recognize WebMD as a handy source for medical news and information. Published by WebMD, the Medscape app offers a continually updated clinical reference database and several other useful features to aid in patient care. Various tools allow users to look up medications and dosages, visually identify drugs and supplements, check for potential drug interactions, explore formulary information, utilize medical calculators, and browse information about different procedures. The app also puts the latest in medical news at users’ fingertips. It is available for iOS and Android mobile devices.
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Nurses work hard to deliver quality care, and the right smartphone healthcare apps can make their job a little easier. While the five apps described above are great choices for both practicing nurses and nursing students, they are just a small selection of the medical apps available. Nurses have plenty of choices, so they can experiment to find the mix of healthcare apps that works best for them.