Apple iPhone Becomes a Patient Safety Device with Epocrates

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Top Healthcare App Developer Shares User Data and Stories

no one can remember everything all the time!

In a few short months, thousands of applications have appeared in the Apple App store. While the majority of the top applications are games and social networking, healthcare applications have been gaining momentum and are generating buzz among healthcare professionals and patients alike.

Having been featured during the initial Apple SDK announcement, Epocrates, Inc. was among the first to launch its highly anticipated application in the healthcare category. In the first month of availability, its Epocrates Rx drug and formulary software for the iPhone was downloaded by more than 125,000 users, including 25,000 U.S. physicians. The company conducted surveys among 607 physicians and consumers to evaluate how the iPhone is being used to support clinical decisions and ensure medication safety.

In Clinical Practice
More than 70 percent of physicians surveyed said the availability of Epocrates on the iPhone was important in their purchasing decision. The majority use Epocrates to practice safer medicine by reportedly helping them prescribe accurate drug dosages, identify adverse reactions or check for potential drug interactions. Additional key findings include:

  • Nearly 80 percent report using Epocrates during patient visits and sharing drug safety information with their patients
  • Patient reaction is positive with the majority feeling more confident their provider is confirming clinical information, and a subset (39 percent) reports receiving admiration for using the "latest cool technology"
  • More than 70 percent of physicians report using Epocrates at least once per day, and half plan to use it more in the future. In addition, 90 percent believe all healthcare professionals should use a clinical reference, such as Epocrates

Consumer Driven Healthcare
Though Epocrates software is primarily used by healthcare professionals, an increasing number of consumers find value in the product as they become more involved in medical care. Thousands of consumers have downloaded the free drug reference to their iPhone to monitor their personal healthcare (67 percent) or manage family care (23 percent). According to survey results, consumers are primarily using Epocrates to check for interactions between medications, or become more informed about potential side effects or risks. Other survey findings include:

  • 60 percent of consumers report using the drug identification tool; some even report using it to clean out their medicine cabinet
  • 65 percent of consumers have or will recommend Epocrates to their provider, and a quarter already spoke with their physician about information they found in Epocrates - several reporting a changed prescription as a result
  • The majority of consumers also feel that healthcare professionals should use a clinical reference in practice. As a survey participant succinctly stated, "no one can remember everything all the time!"

Other Professional Needs
Beyond physicians and consumers, other professionals report using Epocrates at their jobs. A school guidance counselor, lawyer or police officer may be seen pulling out their iPhone device loaded with Epocrates software. These non-healthcare professionals have reported using the clinical reference to identify mystery pills or solve a criminal case.

Survey background
Two surveys were conducted by Epocrates, Inc. among 303 U.S. physicians and 304 consumers registered with the company. Participants downloaded Epocrates Rx for the iPhone/iPod touch from the Apple App store within first week of product launch and completed the survey in August 2008. For full survey results or to speak with a participant for firsthand experiences using Epocrates for the iPhone platform, please contact

About Epocrates, Inc.
Epocrates is a leading provider of clinical information and decision support tools to healthcare professionals. Epocrates currently has more than 500,000 active subscribers worldwide, including more than one in four U.S. physicians and more than one in three U.S. medical students. The company's subscription-based services enable healthcare professionals to make more informed medical decisions, reduce medical errors and practice more efficiently. For more information about Epocrates, please visit


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Erica Morgenstern
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