Epocrates, CDC develop injection safety mobile program

With more than a million healthcare professionals--including 40 percent of U.S. physicians--using Epocrates reference software, many of them on mobile devices, the San Mateo, Calif.-based company seems like a natural partner for a nationwide medical education program. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention thinks so, which is why the CDC and the Safe Injection Practices Coalition will use the Epocrates EssentialPoints mobile detailing program in an attempt to reach smartphone-toting clinicians with a message about injection safety.

A new EssentialPoints activity called "CDC: Injection Safety" includes a short video about a patient with breast cancer who was one of 99 people to contract hepatitis C during chemotherapy because the oncology clinic didn't follow recommended injection practices. The video is followed by a questionnaire to help prepare viewers for taking steps to prevent injection-related infections.

"Advancements in technology present new opportunities to communicate with and educate healthcare professionals in a meaningful way. With so many front-line providers regularly using mobile devices, this channel represents an efficient way to educate them about new protocols and best practices around safe injection practices," Kathy Warye, CEO of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, says in an Epocrates press release.

How serious is the problem? Writing on the BNet blog, occasional FierceHealthIT and FierceMobileHealthcare contributor Ken Terry notes that more than 100,000 people in the U.S. have accidentally been exposed to a hepatitis virus in the last 10 years. Upward of 500 of those patients actually contracted hepatitis B or hepatitis C, he says, citing an American Journal of Infection Control article.

For more details:
- read Terry's BNet commentary
- see this Epocrates press release