It’s amazing to think about how much we use our smart phones and tablets in our daily lives for communication and entertainment, but they can also be super handy and helpful in our clinical practice!
You’ve all heard the phrase “There’s an app for that!” and I am here to tell you that this absolutely also applies to eye care. Below are what I believe to be the essential apps that all optometry students and optometrists should have and utilize to make our lives easier and more efficient!
No more leaving the exam room to dig up old books for reference!
1. Epocrates (Free)
Epocrates is one of the most-used apps in the medical community and I would agree that it is the app that I rely on the most. You can easily use the search tool look up any prescription or non-prescription medication in its database. Once you select the medication that you are interested in, it will provide you with the following information:
- Adult recommended dosing for each condition that the medication is used for
- Pediatric dosing and the age at which the particular medication is safe to use in children
- Formulary information, Drug List Tier, and Prior-Authorization information for certain insurances
- A list of possible alternative medications for the condition you are wishing to treat
- Contraindications/Cautions for each medication
- Adverse reactions (serious and common), so that you may inform your patients of possible side effects
- A list of possible drug interactions so that you may compare to your patient’s current medication list
- Safety information, including pregnancy category and lactation safety
- An explanation of the pharmacology; metabolism, excretion, subclass, and mechanism of action
- Manufacturer and approximate retail pricing information
- A photo of the medication, which can be helpful for those patients who don’t know the name but can recognize the bottle, box, or pill that they are using
2. GoodRx (Free)
GoodRx is another amazing app that I use on a daily basis to help my patients (and sometimes even myself) save money on prescription medications.
GoodRx can be used either by an app, or on their website. All you need to do it type in the medication and the patient’s zip code. A list will show up with several nearby pharmacies and the price of the medication at that store. There are also usually free coupons that can be be presented to the pharmacy either on the patient’s phone, or printed. I always tell patients about this app and sometimes even pull the app or website up in the office to show them how to use it. Patient’s love that you spend a little extra time trying to help them out!
There are also other features that can be utilized as well, including savings tips, drug information, side effects, and images.
3. MTBC ICD 9-10 (Free)
Your electronic medical records software will code most of your ocular and vision conditions with proper ICD-10 codes; however, there are some conditions that you will still need to look up the old-fashioned way. This app is a very easy way to search a condition for the proper ICD-10 code, or to convert an ICD-9 to the proper ICD-10 code.
Once you down this app you can select your specialty to “Ophthalmology and Optometry” and this will provide you with a list of the most common disorders in that specialty for easier searching. You can also “star” your favorite or most-used codes to store for later!
4. OptiCalc Contact Lens Calculator ($3.99)
OptiCalc is a great app that can be used for many soft contact lens needs. Instead of looking up vertex distance conversions and calculating new contact lens powers after an over-refraction, you can get all of this information easily and quickly with this app. Below are some of the great features:
- Refraction data corrected for vertex distance
- Provides recommended spherical contact lens power based on spherocylindrical refraction
- Suggests a new toric contact lens power based on lens rotation
- You can enter contact lens power and over-refraction and it will recommend a new lens power to order
5. Parks 3 Step (Free)
Although this app may not be used everyday, when you have a patient in your chair who needs a Park’s 3-step test done, this is a great way to easily test and interpret the results!
Utilizing your device’s built in gyroscope and accelerometer, this app will be able to predict the underacting muscle. The app asks the following questions:
- In primary gaze, which eye demonstrates the hypertropia?
- Hold your device vertically, and rotate the device either left or right to simulate the patient’s head turn that makes the hypertropia worse.
- Hold your divice vertically, and tilt the device either clockwise or counterclockwise to simulate the patient’s head tilt that makes the hypertropia worse.
Once each question is answered it will display the paretic muscle!
6. Lab Values Medical Reference ($2.99)
It is pretty much impossible to remember all of the normal value ranges for laboratory testing, and looking up values for a multitude of tests can be time consuming. This app is an excellent reference for any type of lab testing you can think of, including cardiac labs, renal labs, urinalysis, electrolytes, acid/base balance, iron studies, pancreatic disease, liver disease, tumor markers, hematology, CSF analysis, lipid panel, drug levels, toxicology, endocrine labs, and immunology labs. It also breaks down the values based on age and sex. In addition to giving normal lab values, this app will also explain differential diagnoses for increased and decreased values.
This app also describes all of the tests that comprise common lab panels. For example, a lipid panel consists of total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, triglycerides, and VLDL. You can also “star” the most common lab tests that you may need to easily find the information later. This is a great app for those who practice a lot of medical optometry.