Medication errors harm at least 1.5 million people every year and are among the most common medical errors. With all the brand, generic, and over the counter drugs available on the market, it is nearly impossible for physicians and nurse practitioners to memorize the recommended doses and potential harmful interactions for every medication. Luckily, Epocrates has created a simple drug research application that allows providers to access information on thousands of drugs.
According to the company, Epocrates Rx is the most popular drug research smartphone application, with more than 80% of physician smartphone owners using it 12 times a week. The application is not only popular; it’s effective, too. A survey of more than 3,800 users found that 54% of the respondents believe the application prevented at least one medical error or adverse drug event per week.
“Epocrates was founded with the simple vision of helping medical professionals deliver better patient care where and when it is needed most – at the point of care,” said Anne Meneghetti, M.D. Director of clinical content at Epocrates. “More than a decade ago, we realized the potential of mobile devices as a delivery agent for critical information to clinicians who are mobile themselves. Epocrates is continuing to innovate to service clinicians’ evolving needs as their trusted content partner.”
The application organizes its vast collection of drugs by class and subclass before listing the names of specific medications. When users choose a drug, they can review an information page that prominently displays dosing for FDA-approved as well as off-label indications. The page also lists additional information below, such as possible contradictions, adverse reactions, drug interactions, pharmacology, pricing, and pill pictures. For drugs that have black box warnings, a red icon with an exclamation point appears on the page, which is a nice attention-grabbing feature. Users can also click the telephone icon at the bottom of the page to communicate with manufacturers who have provided their contact information.
One of the most useful features in the Epocrates Rx application is the drug interaction check. Users can use this tool to check for harmful interactions between up to 30 different medications. Potential interactions go beyond those listed in the prescribing information to include inhibition potency, substrate exclusivity, and therapeutic index to determine clinical significance.
Another great thing about the Epocrates Rx application is that it is available on practically all mobile platforms including, Apple IOS, Android, BlackBerry, Palm, and Windows Mobile. Oh yeah, it’s free, too. Check it out!
Ben Amirault is the Marketing Manager at Barton Associates. He joined Barton Associates in 2012 after spending four years as an editor at HCPro, a national healthcare publishing company. Ben received a B.A. in English, specializing in Journalism, from the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH.