Pharma

Free medicines guide for iPhone

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US company Epocrates has produced a free downloadable medicines guide for the iPhone. In the first month of availability, the Epocrates Rx drug and formulary software was downloaded by more than 125,000 users, including 25,000 US doctors. Epocrates Rx is also available for Palm, Blackberry and Windows Mobile devices and is designed for the US market. The company conducted surveys among 607 doctors and consumers to evaluate how the software on the iPhone is being used to support clinical decisions and ensure medication safety. More than 70% of doctors 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. 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. Consumers have downloaded the free drug reference to their iPhone to monitor their personal healthcare (67%) or manage family care (23%). 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 professionals report using Epocrates at their jobs. A school guidance counsellor, 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.

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