An important mobile app review was posted on the site iMedicalApps yesterday. The review of Epocrates’ new app “Bugs & Drugs,” though a bit longer than most of iMedicalApps review pieces is worth a read (here). In this review, author Timothy Aungst, PharmD, judiciously points out the potential utility of this app billed as a “antimicrobial susceptibility reference” intended to aid clinicians in selecting antibiotics by identifying localized bacterial resistance patterns. With the purpose established, Aungst methodically works through several examples of outright errors in the information provided by the app. He closes the review pointing out that Epocrates states that the app has been downloaded more than 100,000 times (Yahoo! Finance declares that it has gone viral), meaning that it is more than likely at least some clinicians are using the erroneous data to (potentially) make clinical decisions and perhaps ironically exacerbate the very situation the app was designed to reduce. With the name brand attached to this app there is a possibility that more initial trust will be placed in it and its content than other new apps. As a commenter of the review points out, it is on the clinician to use their judgement, but point of care reference tools are designed to aid in that decision making. Whether inexperienced, crunched for time or whatever the situation may be that could cause a slip in clinical judgement, it is worth letting patrons know that some of the content in this app may be suspect at this point in time.
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