Unfortunately, no one has created an iPhone app that stops doctors from charging $300 to say there’s nothing wrong with you. As for that skin discoloration on your wrist, it’s probably a bruise. But it could be melanoma. Hard to say. Better get it looked at right away, but as you’re probably reading this at 3 a.m. while contemplating the infinite possibilities of slow, unknown physical deterioration, here are a few sick medical apps to aid your search for answers.
Epocrates iPhone app works for health-care pros and hypochondriacs
Epocrates worked directly with Apple to release the Epocrates app for the iPhone. There is quality in this collaboration. Epocrates is among the most popular free medical iPhone apps and is geared toward consumers. Given its wealth of information, Epocrates remains the best free app out of the thousands health-related apps available in the iTunes App Store. There is also a paid version for medical professionals that requires a $159 one-year subscription.
The free Epocrates gives access to a wide range of medical knowledge, including information on drugs, drug interactions, and pill identification. For more-comprehensive information, paying subscribers will find information on treatment options for various diseases, a reference for interpretations of lab tests, and information on conventional and alternative medicines. The premium version also includes an infectious-disease treatment guide.
For medical professionals, the Epocrates app is the perfect way to stay up to date on new medical discoveries and can be an important point of reference for patient care. For everyone else, Epocrates has some cool features that can help identify drugs by choosing among lists of color, shape, coating, score, clarity, and imprint, and has dozens of medical calculations that will be sure to impress your friends. Calculate your body mass and ideal body weight, or calculate a due date with the pregnancy wheel. For those with more medical knowledge, find your LDL cholesterol or your cardiac output.
Much more medical information than you’ll probably ever need with iTriage
In a world where everyone is an expert on everything by virtue of Google, an app like iTriage is a double-edged sword. But if you’re the sort of person who is okay with self-diagnosing yourself with all sorts of crazy illnesses, there might not be a better option than the iTriage app. Using iTriage, you can look up symptoms for an illness, find what illness you might have, find a procedure that would treat that illness, and then find a doctor who would perform that procedure. It’s like a one-stop shopping trip for your disease-related needs.
Download the free iTriage app – text iTriage to 31996 for a link. No smartphone? No problem. Visit us online at itriagehealth.com. iTriage is a free app and website that puts YOU at the center of your healthcare. Quickly and easily live with health at hand, every day.
The symptom and disease lookup is as robust as WebMD, though it’s rather disappointing that when looking up symptoms you’re only able to select one at a time. It would certainly narrow your results if you could pick two or three. Even still, the multitude of results you get for, say, symptoms of a headache, are organized very neatly. Clicking on a symptom branches you off to another portion of the app that offers you images, videos, medical tests and treatment options for your illness. That all of these are behind different tabs and not just thrown all over the page makes iTriage easy to read. The provider list is similarly robust, using your location to find physicians, and then sorting them by the type of medicine they practice. Although some of the specific fields are lacking in results, it was still hard not to be impressed with the level of detail provided.
As I said earlier, this app isn’t for everyone. If you’re going to turn yourself into a hypochondriac and assign yourself a handful of terrible diseases because you’ve let your imagination run wild, this is an app to skip. If, on the other hand, you’re fine with reading information like this, then iTriage is an amazing value.
Sharecare’s AskMD app just what the patient ordered
Personalized medicine is not restricted to genetic analysis and customized drug programs. Touchscreen devices can also deliver personal advice to anyone in need of or just considering medical treatment. Although there are hundreds (if not thousands) of titles available in the iTunes App Store and Google Play that claim to do everything from clearing acne to relieving headaches, most of them are more pseudo than science. So it’s great when we come across mainstream, general interest medical applications that can legitimately help to ease our pain.
The recently updated AskMD is just want the doctor ordered. The ease of use and interface of AskMD will appeal to casual users and hypochondriacs alike. From login, users are asked a series of questions about the symptoms, their overall condition, any medications they are taking and other factors. The personalized questionnaire is comprehension while not overwhelming. Upon completion, the user is provided with a list of possible ailments and well as suggested specialists in their area they should potentially consult. The app also can handle logistical information like setting up an appointment, notifying friends and contacts of a condition, and verifying insurance information. It will also alert you if symptoms warrant a trip to the emergency room.
The biggest variable to consider when assessing any health and medical application is that the legitimacy and expertise of its developer. AskMD developer Sharecare was started by WebMD co-founder Jeff Arnold, and physician/talk show host Dr. Mehmet Oz. The app and Sharecare site harnesses the expertise of more than 250 physician “HealthMakers” for its recommendations. Free to download, AskMD is subsidized via a sponsorship from the Healthcare Corporation of America (HCA), which has more than 250 medical facilities in 20 states across the country. In areas where an HCA hospital or surgery center is available, those listings are highlighted among other local recommendations.
Blurry vision the hallmark of EyeChart
Attention optometrists and optometry students: EyeChart is for you. As the name implies, this app offers an eye chart like the one found at an optometrist’s office. To use, hold the iPhone or iPod touch four feet from the subject’s eyes to start the test. This is a two-person project, as someone needs to check if the subject is reading the correct letters.
EyeChart is clearly different from a wall-based chart, of course. The iPhone’s screen adds additional variables to obtaining a correct reading, as smudges or screen glare may skew results. Additionally, the size of the EyeChart is not proportionate to the view you would see in a medical environment. This may cause users to believe their eyesight is worse than it really is.
There is a lot of room for human error in this medical app. For example, someone may think their vision is terrible because the large E at the top of the EyeChart app is blurry. The EyeChart instructions explain that someone with astigmatism won’t be able to clearly view that E.
For a free iPhone application, Omnio provides a lot. The application provides a prescription calculator that assesses the effects and dosage of drugs you are taking. Omnio also serves as a resource that describes various diseases and treatments, as well as a medical calculator that even monitors your calorie intake. Although the app provides a wealth of medical knowledge — including a glossary of terms and links to related ailments — Omnio isn’t for everybody. It is specifically designed as a resource for medical professionals, which means the rest of us likely won’t understand what to do with all the information. Omnio also lets you download additional resources. But they come at a premium — some as high as $49.99 or more for medical books and apps.