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Epocrates Android app a helpful medical reference guide

by Caitlin M. Foyt

If you're a medical student, pharmacist or doctor, you might find the Epocrates app for your Android phone to be a very helpful medical reference guide. There are a lot of drugs out there, which means medical professionals have a lot of information to keep track of.

Epocrates contains tons of info about prescription and over-the-counter drugs, including proper dosage, the effects when combined with other drugs, possible side-effects and contraindications (the factors that increase risks).

The app also includes many useful medical calculators, such as those for body mass index), short-term recall and basal energy expenditure (used to determine a person's caloric needs).

Epocrates also comes with images of most generic and proprietary pills available on the market. Click on any one of these images, and you can read more about a pill's dosage information, generic name and any other details.

By having a simple means to identify a pill, this could be a great way for EMTs, nurses and doctors to identify the pills that have been taken by a patient who's overdosed. You simply identify the pill by matching a number of different variables, such as color, shape and markings. Epocrates will then list photos with pill names, and the option to learn more about the drug. This photo feature could also prove helpful when trying to communicate with patients who speak another language.

There also are medications in Epocrates' database that are intended for treating animals, which means veterinarians could find a use for this app, which obviously is intended for all kinds of medical professionals (and, perhaps, some very curious consumers). It's a quick reference guide, but I should still probably err on the side of safety, and note that Epocrates is not a doctor replacement.

It's hard to gauge just how helpful this app really is, because I'm not a medical professional. However, it's clear that there is a ton of information on Epocrates, all of which seems very easy to search. Because of that, I think it's safe to say that this app has achieved what it set out to do.