Free Telemedicine Mobile Apps and FDA on Social Media

When the “i” series of the Apple products (iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes) drastically change the way we access music, videos, movies, games, and friends/families, I naturally think those things will eventually be applied in science and medicine as these two disciplines are global-oriented, data-driven, and information rich–exactly what those devices are designed to handle.  Not surprisingly, the smartphone/tablet world evolves daily with newer chips/designs/features/functions, and a gigantic software application market has constantly attracted huge interests in the music, gaming, entertaining, and healthcare industries.

The Age of Telemedicine – Mobile Apps in The Fingertips
Apps grow like weeds to run on several popular smartphone platforms, such as iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows 7 phone, and Symbian.  A blog run by a medical student and a medical resident on mobile medical apps contains a truck load of apps information and countless app screen shots that are eye-catching.  As of 14 Dec 2010, their top 20 free iPhone medical apps are:

1. Medscape (mini-textbook)
2. Micromedex (prescription medical reference)
3. New England Journal of Medicine (must read medical journal)
4. Epocrates (medical reference tools)
5. Calculate (Medical Calculators by QxMD)
6. Radiology 2.0 (case learning radiology tool)
7. Skyscape [RxDrugs: drug reference tool and OCM (outlines of Clinical Medicine): disease pathology information]
8. Living Medical Textbooks (information rich)
9. ReachMD (medical radio)
10. Neuromind (simple reference tool)
11. Prognosis (diagnosis simulation)
12. Harvard’s Public Health News (news)
13. Radiopaedia (radiology teaching files)
14. AHRQ ePSS [public health tool by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)]
15. Dragon Medical Search (search tool)
16. Epocrates calculators (for specialist )
17. MedPage Today (breaking medical news)
18. Doximity (facebook for doctors)
19. Dropbox (help medical workflow)
20. 3D Brain and Lost it (brain anatomy and point-of-care on diet and exercise)

As of 24 Jan 2011, their top 15 free Android medical apps are:

1. Medscape
2. Epocrates
3. Skyscape
4. Evernote (organization tool)
5. Calculate (Medical Calculators by QxMD)
6. MedPage Today
7. Harvard’s Public Health News
8. Monthly Prescribing Reference (MPR) (drug reference)
9. Standard Dictations (basic templates to read while dictating, great for interns)
10. AHRQ ePSS (electronic preventive services selector)
11. PubMed Mobile (medical reference)
12. Ob Wheel (pregnancy management)
13. Eponyms (reference material)
14. Speed Anatomy (anatomy reference)
15. Calorie Counter (diet and exercise application)

In addition, the US Department of Veterans Affairs comes out with a FREE PTSD (Post-tramatic stress disorder) Coach app to help learn and manage symptoms that commonly arise after drama.  Want to see more? Apple’s App Store has more and yet again more at appstore for Android.  If you want to gain more information on new development of mobile medicine application, the “Telemedicine and e-Health” journal is a good place to start.

FDA’s Media Channels and Approved Apps

Everyday, we are inundated by information tsunami elicited by technology innovation earthquakes–novel gadgets, new apps, extensive cloud computing/storage, you name it.  Numerous organizations jump on social and interactive media bandwagon to engage with interested parties, no exception for FDA, evident by a list of tools to gain access to the FDA information.   However, the FDA has not yet revealed its social media guidance on promotion of products and services.

The mobile apps have entered into a serious development to function as a medical device-equivalent.  The first iPhone and iPad mobile application approved by the FDA with 510(k) clearance is called Mobile MIM by MIM Software.  Medical doctors can view images and make medical diagnoses based on computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and nuclear medicine technology, such as positron emission tomography (PET). However, regular workstations should be used if available.

Until next post, keep on reading and writing!!