Mobile Clinical References Credited in Preventing Medical Errors Weekly

San Mateo, CA - June 18, 2009 - While electronic medical records (EMRs) may be hailed as the cure for a paper-based healthcare system, they will be joining a technology resource many physicians have been relying on for years. Epocrates® mobile clinical reference software is the most helpful safety technology for physicians, according to a new survey. More than 60 percent of the 2,000 physicians surveyed reported avoiding at least one adverse drug event (ADE) per week by using Epocrates' software on an iPhoneTM, Blackberry®, Palm® or Windows® device. With more than a third of U.S. physicians using Epocrates, this translates to more than a hundred thousand ADEs avoided weekly, and illustrates the importance of trusted point-of-care information.

"Having an EMR system is certainly helpful and key to modernizing our healthcare system, but Epocrates is my go-to source during patient visits," said Dr. Ronald Hirsch, Illinois-based internist. "It's always within reach and the up-to-date content includes drugs, diseases and diagnostics."

The nationwide survey, which included respondents across eight medical specialties, revealed physicians using Epocrates software have a higher adoption of other healthcare information technologies than non-users. Representing more than one in three U.S. physicians, 50 percent of Epocrates subscribers report having an EMR in their practice. Cardiologists and gastroenterologists prove to be the most advanced, with 61 percent and 58 percent reporting the use of both technologies, respectively.

Many physicians use Epocrates software as a supplement to EMRs when checking for clinically significant interactions between multiple drugs, or for accurate dosing information. Nearly 60 percent of respondents with access to an EMR system reveal they would be more likely to act on information they proactively looked up in a mobile clinical reference compared to a pop-up message in their EMR. The mobility and convenience of this content fully supports physicians' workflow, as they may not always be in front of a computer.

With the Epocrates software close at hand, more than 40 percent of physicians believe it has helped avoid two or more medical errors per week. Primary care physicians (56 percent) and oncologists (45 percent) were among the respondents who saw the most value and potentially avoided eight or more ADEs per month.

"So many patients these days are taking multiple medications prescribed by another physician, or self-dispensed herbal therapies. Epocrates is a powerful tool that allows me to enter those treatments along with the prescription I am writing to check for interactions. While an EMR will log my consultation with the patient, it may not capture these outliers," said Dr. Richard Wong, California-based cardiologist. "Epocrates also offers mobility, which is difficult with an EMR. It is not practical to tote a laptop with me everywhere. With Epocrates, I have it loaded on my iPhone and can take it with me wherever and whenever I need it."

The survey was conducted in April 2009 by Epocrates, Inc. amongst 2,075 U.S. physicians across eight medical specialties registered with the company. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 2 percent.

When asked to evaluate five technologies on how well they help avoid medical errors and improve patient safety, respondents ranked the top three as:
Mobile clinical reference software (85 percent)
Electronic prescribing (71 percent)
Electronic medical record systems (65 percent)

For full survey results or to speak with a physician about survey topics or use of Epocrates software, please contact [email protected].