Top 5 Medical Apps for iPhone

Even your doctor is tapping that smartphone screen for info.

ByABC News
July 10, 2009, 4:24 PM

July 13, 2009 — -- Doctors are increasingly bidding farewell to their classic sidekick -- the pager -- and opting for smartphones that do more to help them practice medicine.

A recent report by the healthcare market research firm Manhattan Research in New York shows that 64 percent of doctors are tech-savvy, using mobile devices made by BlackBerry, Palm, and Apple.

Although medical applications are a small fraction of the myriad of "apps" available for smartphones, they are one of the fastest growing categories and are finding their way into hospitals, clinics, and medical schools.

Medical apps make up a little more than one percent of all apps, but the downloadable medical apps are becoming so useful to doctors that the Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C., now requires all of its students to carry an iPhone or iTouch.

Here's a look at some of the more popular and unusual apps developed for medicine and public health for the iPhone and other mobile devices:

The most popular medical application for the iPhone by number of downloads is Epocrates, a free portable database that contains pictures of and information on 3,300 pharmaceutical drugs. It has been available for several years on mobile devices like BlackBerrys and Palm Pilots and was downloaded 50,000 times during the first three months after it was released for the iPhone.

Physicians at hospitals such as Georgetown University Medical Center carry around the app to double-check for potentially dangerous drug-drug interactions when prescribing treatments for their patients. An expanded version also provides information about diseases and laboratory tests.

Featured in Apple's commercials, OsiriX allows radiologists to view and carry around their patients' X-ray scans on an iPhone. The X-ray images can be sent from phone to phone via iChat.

While the iPhone's tiny 480 by 320 pixel screen is small for making a diagnosis, physicians can zoom in and out or transfer the images to a Mac computer to study them in full detail.