News 7/26/11

UpToDate Launches Native iPhone App

UpToDate (UTD), the clinical reference tool that is amazingly useful for finding summaries of evidence on medical topics, launched a native iPhone app today. Every academic center I’ve spent time in provides access to UTD on its network and clinicians use it frequently. It’s a pretty great tool as it has over 9,000 medical topics summarized and presented with links to countless studies. UTD is also used as the clinical content for ProVation Order Sets (both ProVation and UTD are owned by Wolters Kluwer Health).

UTD has over 450,000 subscribers. For a very good and timely article on why UTD is so popular with docs, check out this recent Forbes article. According to UTD user surveys (n=~14,000), 94% of users found that UTD improved care and 90% found it saved time.

The service is offered as a subscription at $495 per year for individual physicians (and I’m sure an arm and a leg for an institutional license.)

Mobile access is provided through mobile-optimized content accessible through the most popular mobile browsers. The new native app is available for free to current UTD subscribers.

I had a briefing with Vicki J. Brown, vice president of marketing for UTD about the new app. I was curious what percent of users access UTD over mobile browser and if she had any stats on the types of devices accessing the mobile site. She informed me that about 85,000 users access the site on iPhones, with iPads and Android devices a very distant second and third.

Though Internet connectivity is required in the initial release of the app, an offline mobile app loaded with UTD content (~1 gig) will be available later this year. UTD developed the current app in-house and tried to take advantage of the iOS functionality. They include common filter options (peds, adult) as buttons at the top of search result pages.

I was curious if UTD had any thoughts about consumer-facing mobile health apps. Vicki informed me that the UTD value and expertise is with providers. I definitely agree. Consumer value and usage for UTD is driven by providers linking them to the content.

If you have a UTD account, give the new app a try.

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Travis Good is an MD/MBA and is involved with health IT startups.

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