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9 Mobile Health Apps Worth A Closer Look

There's no doubt: Clinicians love their mobile devices. Among many new health apps, here are 9 that healthcare professionals and their patients should investigate.

There's no doubt about it: Clinicians are in love with mobile devices--especially the iPhone and iPad. Manhattan Research recently reported that three out of every four U.S. physicians own some type of Apple device. Nearly one in three own an iPad and another 28% plan to buy one this year. Meanwhile, smartphone penetration among physicians is forecast to reach 81% by the end of 2011, compared to 50% penetration for U.S. consumers. And a growing number of mobile medical apps from respected sources should make those numbers grow even faster.

One of the most popular apps is from Medscape for the iPhone, iTouch, Blackberry, and Android. The professional medical website, which offers news, full-text journal articles, CME, and reference material, was already among the most popular and its mobile app became the #1 downloaded free medical app in 2010. The app offers news alerts, drug reference, drug interaction checker, disease and conditions reference, news, and more.

Of note is the app's professional directories function, which allows users to search a database that includes lists of 400,000-plus physicians, 57,000-plus pharmacies, and 6,000-plus hospitals across the U.S. Search can be conducted by location, physician name, or specialty; results offer email contact and location information (including a map). This is a good example of a website that has taken its app strategy seriously, and has been able to migrate many useful resources onto the smartphone platform. In the Apple Store, the current version of Medscape Mobile rates 5 stars among users. Many of the commenters praise the app for its ease of use, news, navigation and more. For healthcare professionals, one of the best features is the mobile CME, which include CME/CE activities across 30+ specialty areas. Credits can be earned on-the-go and then tracked automatically via the apps on-site CME Track.