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Phone apps save time
When John Provost, RN, started working in the ED in 2006 at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, AZ, he purchased a PalmPilot, then added some software with medical information.
"I recall how expensive this was, and that I quickly stopped using the device due to the time it took to boot up as well as attempting to locate information," he reports.
Provost says that he carries an Iphone 4, which is "lightning fast and is always ready to go with the slide of a finger across the screen. On my device, I have an organized grouping of medical apps."
Provost uses Epocrates (manufactured by San Mateo, CA-based Epocrates. For more information, see resource box, below.) for information on diseases, medications, and lab tests, and says it is his "favorite one-stop shop." "This application saves me time in terms of being able to look information up at the bedside of a patient instead of having to run back to a work station or call out for assistance," he says.
Provost also uses other medical information databases, including Medscape, Skyscape, and Pepid. (For more information, see resource box.) "This allows me to cross reference and compare information I may not trust, or when I need another description by another provider," he says.
Provost says he's had "countless occasions" where he has needed to check dosing or obtain information on a specific medication. "Having that information in my pocket at all times is a gift," he says.
Dee Alexander, RN, BSN, clinical supervisor for emergency/trauma services in the pediatric ED at St. John's Mercy Medical Center in St. Louis, occasionally uses iTriage (manufactured by Lakewood, CO-based Healthagen if she has trouble figuring out what is wrong with a patient. (For more information on iTriage, see resource box.) "It has been beneficial for teaching purposes," she adds. "I had a patient with atrial fibrillation, and I pulled up the images to show him what atrial fibrillation looked like on an EKG tracing."
Alexander has used MedCalc (a free medical calculator available at http://med-ia.ch/medcalc) frequently to calculate doses. "I find it very helpful in those very stressful situations when time is of the essence and I don't have time to run find a drug book," she says.
For more information on phone applications for emergency nurses, contact: