Top 5 apps to streamline patient care

By John Murphy, MDLinx
Published August 20, 2018

Key Takeaways

The medical app market is full of excellent reference tools when you need to look up a certain disease or an uncommon medication, but what if you're face-to-face with an acute and particularly puzzling problem and you need an answer right now?

To that end, here are some handy apps you can use on the fly, right at the point of care (POC). And if you have a favorite POC app that we didn't include, let us know at the bottom of this article.


Hundreds of screenings and risk calculators at your fingertips

Need to calculate a GI patient's Mayo Score for ulcerative colitis disease activity? How about the estimated bleeding risk for a cardio patient on warfarin? Or maybe you need a quick alcoholism screening test for an elderly patient, or you're on the spot to give a pregnant patient her due date? These functions, in addition to more than 400 other calculators, screenings, and risk scores are available on the Calculate app—"a next-generation clinical calculator and decision support tool," according to its developer, QxMD Medical Software.

Cost: free.

Availability: iPhone, Android, online

Xebra Pro

Make a differential diagnosis on the spot

If you're not sure of the differential diagnosis, download Xebra Pro and you'll have "the most advanced clinical decision support engine for differential diagnosis in the world," according to developer Physician Cognition, Inc. Enter the patient's signs, symptoms, and lab results and Xebra Pro's "clinician-mimicking" engine gives you the differential diagnosis. Plus, it provides a workup strategy to guide you in questioning and examining the patient further and ordering appropriate labs or tests. It also allows users to contribute in sharing best practices, which is aimed at further improving the app's algorithm.

Cost: free.

Availability: iPhone, Android

Diabetes @Point of Care

Follow your diabetes patients remotely on your phone

This app is full of evidence-based medical content for type 2 diabetes. Clinicians can use the voice recognition feature to ask the app—which is powered by IBM's Watson—specific diabetes-related questions. But the key feature is that clinicians can use this app in conjunction with Diabetes Health Manager, a patient-centered app made by the same developer. Patients input their daily information, such as blood glucose levels, medications, blood pressure, symptoms, mood, pain level, activity level, etc, and the clinician can track and follow it all on the Diabetes @Point of Care app.

Cost: free.

Availability: iPhone, online


One-touch text messaging that's HIPAA secure

Pagers are still a common sight in many hospitals, but TigerText is like a supercharged, security-encrypted pager, with a bunch of other features to boot. This HIPAA-compliant text messaging app also sends high-priority messages for immediate answers (avoiding phone tag), allows clinicians to make phone and video calls with a single tap, and can direct messages to certain individuals or a whole department. Photos, voice messages, and other files can be attached and sent securely as well. In addition, critical alerts, results, and consult requests can be routed from EHR and other systems via text in real time, according to developer TigerConnect.

Cost: free.

Availability: iPhone, Android, Mac OS or Windows desktop

GoodRx Pro

Help your patients find the lowest-priced prescriptions

Due to the high, and still rising, costs of pharmaceuticals, getting patients to fill their prescriptions or take their meds as directed can sometimes be a problem. Indeed, nearly 8% of American adults don't take their medicines as prescribed, typically to save money, according to the CDC. With GoodRx Pro—the clinician version of the GoodRx app for patients—you input in the form, dosage, and quantity of the drug for your patient and the app finds the lowest prices from nearby pharmacies as well as mail-order houses. You can share this info with patients by e-mail or text. According to the developer, you can help patients save up to 80% on their prescription costs.

Cost: free.

Availability: iPhone, Android

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