Monday, May 09, 2011

How to search for medical apps

Author: Thuc Huynh, MD

There are now roughly 5,900 medical apps in the itunes store and the list keeps growing.  The problem with itunes is that all 5,900 medical apps get lumped into one area only.  Plenty of good apps get missed because they are located in the far end of the database.  Good luck scrolling through the pages.  Several websites have been created to solve this problem.  Let's take a look.


Scrubdin is a website, created by me, to provide a one-stop shopping solution for medical apps.  The site only lists medical apps on the website if it is indeed a medical app that would be useful for healthcare professionals or for patients.  The apps are then organized into intuitive categories to help you find an app easier.  You can browse by the kind of app it is whether it is medical news or an electronic medical record or you can also browse by medical specialty, such as cardiology or surgery.  Some apps have reviews from the editors but many don't as of yet.  Consumers can also rate and review medical apps to help others make a decision when buying.


iMedicalApps is a website run by a couple medical students, a couple resident physicians, and one heme/onc attending.  Together they provide commentary and reviews on mobile medical apps and mobile health news.  They've just relaunched their website and now you can search for medical apps also by type and specialty.  Currently, searchable apps include only the medical apps that the team has reviewed.


Quixey has taken a different approach and provides an innovative searching solution.  Quixey is dubbed as a 'functional search for apps.'  What does that mean?  You type in a question or a description of what you want to do and Quixey's search engine lists the medical apps that are relevant.  For example, I typed in "keep track of my blood pressure" and it listed 152 apps.  I was able to filter the results by operating platform and by whether the price is free or not.  Quixey's goal is to provide an API and/or widget to websites involved with listing any kind of mobile or web app.  The website is still in Beta and hands out invites on a limited basis.  I talked to Gabe Hendel, Operations Manager, and Quixey is planning to launch on May 23rd at Techcrunch Disrupt.

These three websites provide valuable help for the healthcare professional and the empowered patient looking for medical apps.  Each site fills a need in their own unique way.  Scrubdin is about discovery of medical apps through organization.  iMedicalApps is about insightful application reviews that are easily searchable.  Quixey is about finding a medical app for a specific need.  With these three sites, you'll have no problem finding your next medical app.

About the author:

Dr. Thuc Huynh is CEO of ScrubdIN, a startup company that aims to help health professionals choose their next medical app. Her main interest lies around how medicine can play a role with web 2.0 and social media. Dr. Huynh is currently Chief Resident at her Family Medicine Residency in Rapid City, SD and received her B.S. and M.D. at the Medical University of the Americas.

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