Health & Wellness

Feb 28, 2013 11:08 AM by Tara Grimes (Great Falls)

Physicians harness smartphones, tablets, apps

GREAT FALLS - An increasing number of medical professionals are making their way into exam room with smartphones in hand. They're likely not catching up on texts or checking their Facebook news feed, but instead using apps to assist in your medical care.

Nicole Donester, a dermatologist, said, "Specifically for dermatology there's a visual diagnosis application where you can actually put in different lesion types and it will come up with different types of conditions you should be thinking about. So as a resident that was something I definitely used to help me as I was learning."

Donester says she can't imagine not having it through her daily practice: "It has all the prescriptions, but for me the topical prescriptions and you can look at the different dosing, ways to dose it, and what formulations it comes in, and then the recommendations on dosing."

For plastic surgeon and cosmetologist Emilia Ploplys, her choice is the iPad. She says it's useful for bringing x-rays and CT scans to a patient's bedside.

Ploplys said, "Especially in plastic surgery we have a lot of technical terms for things. If I can actually show a patient a picture, basically what I'm doing is carpentry. So it becomes very obvious, they know exactly what's going on and it answers most of their questions."

Neither Donester nor Ploplys is alone when it comes to using those types of apps.

According to survey done by QuantiaMD, an online community and collaboration platform for physicians, about 73% of nearly 4,000 physicians surveyed in America say they use their smartphone and tablet for looking up drug treatment and reference material; 50% learn about new treatments and clinical research; 44% use it to help them diagnose patients; and 43% use it to help choose treatment paths for patients.

But it's more than just an educational tool; Ploplys noted that it can also calm young children down during a procedure, such as getting stitches.

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