Epocrates: Nurses prefer Palm but physicians love the iPhone

A recently released survey from mobile healthcare software developer Epocrates indicates that nurses still prefer Palm PDAs and smartphones for viewing Epocrates reference tools, though the iPhone/iPod touch and BlackBerry platforms are gaining. But in an interview with FierceMobileHealthcare last week, Michelle Snyder, Epocrates' senior VP for subscriber business, said that the iPhone is far and away the most popular device among physicians.

San Mateo, CA-based Epocrates counts 800,000 active users of its software in the U.S., 250,000 of whom are physicians. Since the company made its applications available in the Apple App Store about 14 months ago, 115,000 physicians have downloaded an Epocrates iPhone app, Snyder says. "We're getting more than 300 new docs a day on the iPhone." She adds that doctors love the high-res images of medications and disease patterns that other devices don't display as well as the iPhone.

BlackBerry is the second-most-popular platform for Epocrates among physicians, and the user base is expanding. Windows Mobile usage is flat, Snyder says, while just a "core group of doctors" who have aging Palm 5X or Treo devices continue to prefer the Palm OS. But the first company to find success making PDAs may be on the verge of a comeback among doctors, as Epocrates is working on an app for the hot-selling Palm Pre smartphone. "We get more e-mails for the Palm Pre than anything else right now," Snyder says.

For more about the nursing survey:
- see the Epocrates press release