10 Totally Cool and Incredibly Useful Medical Gadgets and Apps

Neil Versel


May 18, 2011

In This Article

Technology That's Changing Medical Care

Some other attention-grabbing technologies include:

8) Automated Medication Adherence

"Smart" pill bottles can emit light and sound when it's time to take a pill and send automatic alerts to caregivers if the patient skips a dose. That gives physicians a new way to monitor medication adherence in populations with chronic disease. Automated text messages can serve a similar function. This is such a promising area that biotechnology billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD, recently purchased Vitality, maker of the GlowCap wireless Internet-connected medication bottlecap.

9) Electronic Reference Tools and Calculators

Mobile medical reference apps, including Medscape's, have been around for years, but they're becoming more timely and functional. In April, Canadian mobile software vendor QxMD apparently made history by releasing an update to its Calculate by QxMD app to incorporate new scientific knowledge about the risk for renal failure and the need for dialysis in patients with chronic kidney disease at the same time a Tufts Medical Center researcher publicly presented the evidence.

Husain is a fan of a free medical translator called MediBabble. "This is a terrific app," he says, noting that it's particularly useful in international disaster relief. MediBabble is a history-taking and examination application designed to improve the safety and efficiency of care for non-English-speaking patients.

10) Social Networking

Facebook has captured the imagination of the world, claiming 500 million active users, half of whom log in on any given day. You can be sure that plenty of physicians are among those masses. But where do you go when you want to discuss medicine or simply connect with other doctors?

LinkedIn, a business-focused networking site, has at least 100 million users worldwide, but there are several social and professional networking sites just for healthcare professionals, some of which offer secure communications suitable for colleagues who already know each other to discuss specific cases. (Medscape's discussion boards are popular landing spots for physicians).

For patients, there's an emerging field called participatory medicine. A group called the Society for Participatory Medicine defines it as "a cooperative model of healthcare that encourages and expects active involvement by all connected parties (patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals, etc.) as integral to the full continuum of care." Patients facing serious health challenges have been flocking to sites such as Organized Wisdom and PatientsLikeMe.


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