For nurses, Smartphones at work are the norm

Smartphones aren't just popular with docs, they're becoming a staple for nurses on the job, too. And the apps they're using are moving far beyond references and data-management tools, according to an article in the Online Journal of Nursing Informatics.

In 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that 72 percent of physicians use smartphones. Nurses aren't far behind, with 71 percent using smartphones on the job, according to a recent survey conducted by Wolters Kluwer Health, which is launching its Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Nursing 2013 Drug Handbook mobile app, MobiHealth News reports.

Drug references or databases that provide drug, disease, lab and safety information in addition to interactions between medications are among the most common apps that nurses use. Indeed, many nursing schools these days require students to memorize less simply because there's far too much to remember.

"There are too many drugs now, too many interactions, too many tests, to memorize everything you would need to memorize," Joann Eland, an associate professor at the University of Iowa told The New York Times earlier this year.

Apple leads the market with 5,000 apps marketed to healthcare professionals. Apps for healthcare workers are driving faster growth in that segment than the overall market, according to research firm Kalorama Information. It predicts 25 percent annual growth in that segment over the next five years, reports CNBC.

In addition to medical calculators, radiology references and other applications, interactive multimedia continuing education courses for nurses are available for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android. 

In the course of the work day, smartphones could become as ubiquitous as stethoscopes as nurses remotely monitor and communicate with telehealth patients. For instance, a diabetes management texting program kicked off in Washington, D.C., in April.

A variety of applications are available for managing chronic disease, diet, exercise and lifestyle choices, and nurses are instrumental in helping patients find the right ones for them.

Mobile apps and gaming increasingly are seen as just the ticket to more deeply engage patients to adhere to their treatment plans and to track their progress.

To learn more:
- read the Online Journal of Nursing Informatics article
- here's the MobiHealth News story
- check out the Times story
- here's the CNBC article