22 May New tool in the MD's bag: A smartphone
To his frustration, Steven Schwartz often encounters patients who have no idea what each of the pills they’ve been popping is called.
“But usually they can tell you what it looks like,” the Georgetown University Medical Center family practitioner said. “They might say it’s a blue, triangular pill for hypertension.”
Armed with an iPhone, Schwartz is able to play detective.
He uses an application called Epocrates to input pill characteristics, such as color, shape and clarity. The software replies with a list of medications and images that match those criteria, allowing him to deduce what the patient is taking.
Schwartz says his iPhone has become indispensable: He uses it to pull up instructional diagrams and videos for patients, write electronic prescriptions and check basic information, with the patient beside him.
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