Guide to the Most Useful Mobile Apps for Nurse Practitioners
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The days of combing through dusty reference materials on a nurse practitioner’s shelf are over. The right mobile application can streamline a nurse practitioner’s day, providing information digitally at the touch of a fingertip.
Apps can now help diagnose complicated cases, provide references for medical conditions, supply detailed medication information, and even provide continuing education. Apps can now help analyze complex cases, provide references for medical conditions, supply detailed medication information, and even provide continuing education.
Nurse practitioners can access these apps on their smartphones or tablets from their office, home, or exam room, streamlining patient care. However, with so many apps on the market, it can be hard to distinguish which ones have accurate information and actually will be helpful.
Below is a curated list of mobile apps that are a must-have for any nurse practitioner or advanced practice nurse, including those in diagnostics, reference resources, medication guides, and specialized tools in pediatrics. Each includes a description of its features, what it’s used for, and more.
Diagnostics Apps for NPs
These apps can help nurse practitioners discern what is going on with their patients. In addition, many of these apps include a social network component allowing nurse practitioners to quickly access specialists or experts in the field.
VisualDX provides nurse practitioners with medical expertise at their fingertips as a clinical reference and a diagnosis tool. Practitioners can upload images of patients’ conditions and, with the help of artificial intelligence, classify them immediately. Once classified, practitioners can confirm patient symptoms and review potential diagnoses.
Other features include the next steps to take once a diagnosis is made, patient education information, ICD-10 and SNOMED CT codes, drug interaction details, and the ability to share patient data. In addition, practitioners who want to improve their diagnostic skills can practice on the VisualDX quizzes and even compete on leaderboards.
This app is useful for dermatological conditions, medical reactions, or other visual symptoms. Over 1,700 hospitals and clinics utilize this app at the point of care daily.
Figure1 allows nurse practitioners to confer with over 150,000 medical professionals worldwide. Practitioners can share clinical cases and discuss treatment from any mobile device. In addition to getting advice from their clients, practitioners can offer their expertise to other clinicians seeking advice.
Should a practitioner need a specialist, there is a functionality in the app where they can page experts in the field to help with more complicated cases. There is also an extensive database of confirmed diagnoses that practitioners can reference to ascertain what is going on with their patients.
This app is utilized worldwide by notable organizations such as Doctors Without Borders, the American Cancer Society, and Mount Sinai Health System.
5 Minute Clinical Consult
A textbook turned app, 5 Minute Clinical Consult helps NPs diagnose and treat medical conditions and recommends standard patient follow-up care. Designed for Apple and Google platforms, the latest 2023 version helps clinical care practitioners diagnose, treat, and follow up on more than 1,000 common medical conditions.
This app’s features include full-color photographs of dermatologic conditions, 150 diagnostic and treatment algorithms, ICD-10 codes, 200 pediatric disease profiles, and the ability to cross-reference other conditions.
Reference Apps for NPs
Reference guides have traditionally sat on bookshelves in nurse practitioners’ and physician’s offices. Now, many of these reference guides have been digitized and made available in an app. These apps are easy to search, can be bookmarked, and can be referenced at the point of care, making patient care more streamlined. In addition, many apps now include patient education tools as well.
The Sanford Guide app is available as three stand-alone guides that cover HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, and antimicrobial therapies, or as a collection of them all. As a time-tested industry-standard reference guide, the Sanford Guide app takes all the information typically found in a bound book and puts it in an easy-to-search and reference app.
This app is updated frequently and includes valuable tools such as calculators, tables, and algorithms that help nurse practitioners utilize the information they are accessing.
With over 1.3 million users and over 30 research studies confirming that the app can improve patient outcomes, UpToDate must be on any nurse practitioner’s mobile device. This app features over 10,000 topics, medical calculators, drug information, research articles, and best practice recommendations. There are also over 1,500 printable patient handouts to aid nurse practitioners in patient education. It is also possible to earn continuing education credits simply by using the app.
CDC Mobile App
With Covid-19 data changing rapidly, having the CDC Mobile App at your fingertips is an essential asset for any nurse practitioner. This app has the most current public health information available with automatic updates. Practitioners can use this app to read stories, listen to podcasts, review journal articles, and keep up to date with CDC blogs. Weekly morbidity and mortality reports are available on this app as well. In addition, practitioners can expand their knowledge with the “Disease of the Week” feature, which profiles lesser-known illnesses and how to treat them.
Human Anatomy Atlas
Nurse practitioners, other healthcare practitioners, and students use the Human Anatomy Atlas 2022+ as a reference guide. With thousands of interactive models, this app places the intricacies of the human body at a practitioner’s fingertips. In addition, descriptions are available in multiple languages allowing practitioners to use them to communicate with patients who do not speak the same language.
Not only can practitioners reference the atlas for body part names, but they can perform virtual dissections, see simple muscle actions, and see sample animations of bodily functions. This app is part of the Visible Body Web Suite, a collection of reference materials that comprehensively display human anatomy and physiology.
Merck Manual Professional
Trusted by many as a go-to medical reference, the Merck Manual Professional app is an all-in-one diagnostic, drug reference, procedure, and continuing education resource. Clinicians use this as a refresher to review how to diagnose injuries and illness and can review the recommended steps for treatment.
This manual is complete with thousands of updated medical topics and step-by-step videos for how to proceed with casting and splitting, orthopedic, neurologic, and obstetric procedures. In addition, interactive quizzes and case simulations help NPs keep their skills fresh for how to diagnose and treat specific conditions.
Medication Apps for NPs
Prescribing medications can be incredibly complicated because of drug interactions, dosing information, and prescribing rules. The medication reference apps listed below make the nurse practitioners’ job of finding the correct medications much more accessible. These apps are a must-have with medication calculators, contraindication information, and ICD-10 codes.
Epocrates is a complete medication resource with up-to-date pharmacology, disease, and safety information. Nurse practitioners will find this app extremely helpful as it contains dosing information for various populations, contraindication warnings, and pregnancy or lactation considerations. For alternative treatments, it even covers allopathic and homeopathic medications.
Billing can be a breeze using this app as it has recommendations for the best ICD-10 code for various patients. It has also been voted the best medical app ten years in a row by the Decision Resource Group.
Nurse practitioners will find over 400 medication calculators and prescribing information for over 8,500 medications on Medscape Mobile. In addition to medication information, this app provides up-to-date medical news, a newsfeed tailored to the practitioners’ interests, and a network of physicians and students.
While primarily geared towards medication information, this app has a reference library of over 4,000 diseases, including clinical presentations and treatment. Practitioners can also earn continuing education hours or units simply by using the activity tracker component in the app.
Monthly Prescribing Reference
Originally issued in print, the Monthly Prescribing Reference now features an app that nurse practitioners can reference at any time. Featuring all the current information of the monthly print version, this app also has detailed information on over 4,300 over-the-counter and prescription medications. In addition, treatment algorithms and guidelines can help streamline nurse practitioners’ medication decision-making.
Practitioners can choose to subscribe to this app or pay for a comprehensive subscription, including other publications such as Cardiology Advisor, Clinical Pain Advisor, Dermatology Advisor, Endocrinology Advisor, Infectious Disease Advisor, and more. All of these publications are searchable and bookmarkable for easy reference.
Pediatrics Apps for NPs
Treating children is very different from treating adults. Nurse practitioners who work extensively with children will find the following apps helpful in knowing how to treat their smallest patients and keep families informed on how to care for them.
This quick reference guide provides practitioners with critical information about pediatric patients when they need it the most. In addition, Pedi STAT has easy-to-reference information for emergencies such as airway interventions, cardiac resuscitation, seizure medication, age-specific vital signs, allergic reactions, and anaphylaxis for children.
Developed by emergency room physicians, this app takes the guesswork on how to treat pediatric emergencies. Emergency Physicians Monthly has voted it one of the “The Best Drug Reference Apps for Emergency Physicians.”
Recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, KidsDoc is an app nurse practitioners can recommend to parents and caregivers to stay informed on how to best care for their kids. Parents can use this app to check their child’s symptoms, learn what next steps to take, and know when they should contact a physician.
While this is not an app a nurse practitioner may reference daily, it can help their patients’ families keep their kids healthy. This app not only has a symptom checker but also guidelines on when to return to school post-illness and step-by-step care instructions on how to keep sick kids comfortable.
Prescribing medications for children is not always straightforward, which is why every nurse practitioner working with children can benefit from the Pedi QuickCalc app.
Practitioners can enter patient information directly into the app to get prescribing recommendations based on the most recent recommendations. There are also recommendations for IV fluid rates and weight conversions. In addition, practitioners can add frequently prescribed medications to their favorites list for easy reference.
CDC Vaccine Schedules
Vaccine recommendations are constantly evolving. Keeping track and knowing what vaccines may be needed can take significant time, particularly for practitioners who don’t administer them daily. The CDC Vaccine Schedule app takes all the guesswork to ensure a child is fully immunized.
This app includes current vaccine recommendations, catch-up schedules for kids who are behind, and contraindications and precautions. There are even adult vaccine recommendations available. Frequent app updates ensure practitioners have the most up-to-date information available.
Medical Language Interpretation
Language proficiency can be a barrier to providing medical treatment. Although some clinics may offer translation services for patients with limited English proficiency, NPs must have multiple resources to bridge communication gaps and provide proper medical treatment.
A free medical interpretation app for clinical providers, MediBabble helps English-speaking providers communicate with patients with limited English proficiency. English-speaking providers touch the question they wish to ask and then show their device to the patient with the translated diagnostic question. In addition, patients can read or listen to pre-recorded questions, and providers can communicate treatment and follow-up plans, switching between languages if necessary.
This app can be downloaded and used offline, making it useful in clinics with limited internet connectivity. Currently available in English, Spanish, French, Cantonese, Mandarin, Russian, and Haitian Creole.
Kimmy Gustafson is a freelance writer with extensive experience writing about healthcare careers and education. She has worked in public health, at health-focused nonprofits, and as a Spanish interpreter for doctor’s offices and hospitals. She has a passion for learning and that drives her to stay up to date on the latest trends in healthcare. When not writing or researching, she can be found pursuing her passions of nutrition and an active outdoors lifestyle.