Healthcare News & Insights

Study: Mobile apps help avoid dangerous drug interactions

We’ve written before about how patients can benefit from mobile health apps that help them keep track of treatment or wellness plans. Here’s another way mobile apps can help doctors and patients: 

Doctors are using mobile devices and applications to help them avoid dangerous medication errors, according to a recent survey from Epocrates, a company that provides online prescription drug reference tools.

One of those most valuable tools doctors have at their disposal to protect patient safety is a tool to help check for potentially dangerous drug interactions before giving a patient a prescription.

Among the doctors surveyed, 23% said they typically avoid three or more adverse drug events per week by using an online tool. In addition, 39% said they typically avoid one or two potentially dangerous interactions each week.

Doctors turning to mobile apps

While those numbers include doctors who sat down at a computer to access drug information, the majority are using a mobile app to do so, according to Epocrates. Overall, 80% of doctors are using smartphones for work, and a third are using tablets.

That allows doctors to more easily access information while they’re in an exam room and while they’re outside of the office. Among the doctors survey, 60% of say they access the Epocrates database more than three times and day while they’re with a patient, and 70% use the resource outside of the office on a daily basis — many of whom are likely doing so with a mobile app.

In total, Epocrates estimates that mobile apps and other reference tools help avoid more than 27 million potentially dangerous drug interactions avoid each year.

Of course, it’s doubtful doctors would have failed to take other precautions if they weren’t using a mobile app, but those new tools can give doctors and easier and more efficient way to make sure they’re avoiding problems that could threaten patient safety.

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