What Are The Best Apps for Medical Assistants?
Apps for healthcare professionals can be lot more than just gimmicky technology or some cleverly repackaged niche version of the same old social networking functions. They can be critical to the job. And there are real situations where they have proven exactly that…
A young man was admitted to a hospital in Houston severely ill, but there were no clear indications of what was wrong with him… He had taken some pills, he mentioned, but didn’t know exactly what they were. He didn’t have any samples with him, nothing for doctors to test, and his condition was deteriorating quickly.
One of the doctors quickly contacted the patient’s family. They were able to find the remaining pills and describe them over the phone – the color, shape and nomenclature stamped into them.
Urgently punching the description into an app on his smartphone, the doctor was able to not only pinpoint the drug, but identify the exact constituents it was made of. With the help of a toxicologist on call, he was able to immediately develop a life-saving treatment plan.
It’s just a snapshot of one moment in one ER in America, but thousands of scenes just like this play out around the clock across the country every day as doctors, nurses, and medical assistants harness the power of their smartphones to be faster and more effective at their jobs.
Apps like this can be installed in seconds and accessed almost as quick as you can reach into your pocket and grab your phone. In an instant, you can have all the expertise of the medical world in the palm of your hand no matter where you are or when you need it. Apps like this are quietly revolutionizing healthcare, and they’re doing it for a tiny fraction of the cost of traditional tools.
As the iTunes and Google Play stores get more crowded with options, it’s not a matter of if to use these apps to be better at your job, it’s a question of which ones are worth getting familiar with.
Over the years we’ve had a chance to check out just about every last one of them and we’re here to save you the trouble of trying to figure it out on your own. We’ve eliminated the guesswork by listing the five we think are worth giving up some space on your phone and rearranging your icons for. We recommend you download these now and start getting familiar with them.
Here are Five of the Top Mobile Apps Medical Assistants Use Every Day to Maximize Efficiency
1. Epocrates – FREE/$17 per month – Available for: iPhone/Android
Doctors, nurses, MAs… it doesn’t matter what your role or specialty in the world of healthcare, everyone uses Epocrates. This is the app that saved that Houston man’s life with the quick pill identification, but that’s just one of its many tricks. The go-to pharmacology reference software is constantly being updated and currently offers quick clinical decision support in the form of:
- Interaction profiles and conflicts for up to 30 drugs at once
- Instant pill identification based on visual match or imprint codes
- Coverage information and formularies from over 6,000 insurance plans
- Clinical guidelines from national specialists
- Over 600 different dosing calculators
- Complete searchable ICD-10 code list
You can search by generic and trade names, approved uses for drugs, formulations, and different drug classes. It also offers pricing estimates, allowing you to rapidly make decisions and inform patients about costs and coverage.
You’ll also get news updates and alerts, cluing you in instantly to any important FDA recalls or other up-to-date information.
And all of that is just the free version. For a well-worth-it $16.99 per month you will get a whole other constellation of features, including in-depth disease information and treatment recommendations, lab tests and panel and their normal value ranges, and even information on alternative medicines and treatments.
You’ll quickly find that there is a reason that this was the first medical app in the Apple app store, and one of the longest lasting—it was originally designed for the Palm Pilot! Constant updates and key features make it the one app that MAs truly can’t live without.
2. Visual Anatomy – FREE/$3 – Available for: iPhone/Android
What Epocrates is to pharmacology, Visual Anatomy is for, well, anatomy. Visual Anatomy stands out for medical assistants as a highly intricate, and slightly creepy, guide to the human body. It’s an interactive reference tool that allows users to view every part of the body, at every layer and in every configuration. Having trouble understanding how the outer intercostals attach to the inferior costal border? No problem… there’s a built-in 3D mode that allows you to rotate, zoom, and examine every aspect of the body in enormous detail.
It’s not just a static picture, either; Visual Anatomy comes with animations so you can view muscles and muscle groups in action, helping you understand patient injuries and complaints by understanding how the musculoskeletal system is behaving under load.
You can use VA as an anatomical reference, but it was designed as a study guide, so it comes with references from all of Gray’s Anatomy images and 150 multiple choice questions offered in quick quizzes to help you get up to speed.
The paid version offers deep muscles and an index table, along with audio pronunciation guides for anatomical terms and more than 200 bone markers. The Visual Anatomy app also offers a chance to do research with the use of a Google search feature, and every image is in high resolution to provide realistic depictions.
3. Visual DX – $400/$500 per year (institutional plans available) – Available for: Web/iPhone/Android
Visual DX is actually an extremely full-featured web application that is used by individuals and institutions alike, but now comes with app-based accessibility for hand-held, on-the-spot diagnostics. That’s Visual DX’s game: immediate, graphical differential diagnostics, backed up by both revolutionary machine learning processes and longstanding, traditional medical practices to deliver on-the-spot clinical decision support.
When you feed in the patient data and chief complaint, you are only seconds away from a complete differential diagnosis backed by high-tech processing that uses AI algorithms backed by professional medical expertise to offer up the most likely diagnosis, and immediate recommendations for tests or procedures to confirm the case.
But it’s the visuals where the app really stands out, showing you pictures of possible diagnoses, either on an easy-to-understand outline or as images drawn directly from confirmed cases. A tab-based format helps you work through the possibilities, and an ADR (adverse drug reaction) library helps you quickly identify and diagnose reactions that may have occurred.
The company claims to have the world’s best medical image library, with more than 32,000 cataloged, high-resolution disease pictures on tap. That captures almost every variation in every visual disease presentation known to medical science. With additional expert commentary, webinars, and other educational benefits, this spendy app can be worth every penny for MAs.
4. Skyscape – FREE – Available for: iPhone/Android
Skyscape isn’t just one app, but a whole constellation of medical education applications that can help you hone your skills with references and tools for:
- Skyscape Medical Library – An in-your-pocket medical library with 400 medical resources from 30 different publishing partners covering everything from clinical calculators to drug guidance.
- Skills Hub – A practice tracker that allows you to cover individual medical skills supplemented by instructional videos and research links to help you connect and master the key skills you need to be an MA.
- Snap Word – A unique edutainment module that builds your medical knowledge through fun and fast-paced word-games. You can use stock questions and game from more than 500 included images, or even add your own!
- NTrack – A clinical log to help you document your practicum experiences.
- Flash Drive – HIPAA compliant, cloud-based app for sharing all types of medical documents with colleagues.
5. CMA Test Prep – FREE (in-app purchases) – Available for: iPhone
Medical assistants who want a comprehensive study guide for their future exams may find some aid in this app by Med Preps LLC. Offered exclusively for iOS devices, it’s designed to give users the feel of taking Certified Medical Assistant examinations by providing over 2,000 multiple-choice questions that are updated constantly in accordance with those found on actual CMA exams. The questions come with explanations for the answers so you not only see what you got right, but why it was right.
The app puts a fast, study-anywhere quiz program in your pocket, offering up multiple choice questions and cataloging your results and building up a sense of accomplishment through achievements that allow you to see and celebrate the progress you’re making. You can also unlock additional question sets through in-app payments.
The information found here covers a wide range of relevant information for medical assistants and patient care techs, from specimen collection to legal guides, all of it coming directly from a leading test preparation company known for high-quality material. It’s a simple app, but could be the key to success on your CMA exam.
While these five are the top choices for MAs around the country, the beauty of the app market is that more are appearing all the time, and that the small, inexpensive, highly specific nature of a smartphone app means that there’s probably an app to address just about any situation you’ll ever encounter and any question that ever pops up. Smartphone apps can help you solve real problems in the real world, so don’t be afraid to dive into the app store and come up with your own array of top apps specifically suited to your job and your needs.