Affordable Technologies for Family Physicians

It wasn’t even 100 years ago that people were considered lucky if they reached 60. Nowadays many folks actually start living at that age.

Go modern medicine!

Modern medicine wouldn’t be so without technology: from 7-figure robots performing surgery to free mobile apps, today’s hospitals, family physicians and other specialists have the ability to be faster, better and stay more profitable than ever.

Health Tech
Gadgets have always been around in the field of health, but in recent years technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, making it an essential component for healthcare in general.

These breakthroughs are working both ways, since not only are they improving how physicians practice but how patients keep in touch with their own health. This is a huge plus at both ends of the spectrum. The list of people using smartphones to get health tips or monitor their physical activities grows by the minute. Apps are cost-effective and instantly available for aiding patients. Plus, doctors and patients can engage in honest conversations that are out in the open.

We’re talking about ratings, of course. Sites like offer doctors either an ego boost or an eye-opener about how their health services are perceived. This definitely makes our industry more competitive and in great shape to move forward.

There’s an app for that
By 2016, there were over 3.5 billion1 people in the world with access to the internet, which represents 50.1% of the world’s population—much of it coming from smartphones and mobile devices.

Meanwhile, so-called “mHealth” (short for mobile health) continues to gain popularity among patients. Well-informed physicians are capitalizing on it by using mobile health apps in their practice. Top mHealth publishers manage to generate more than 3 million free and 300,000 paid downloads in the U.S. on the iOS platform2 alone. These include continuing medical education, remote monitoring and healthcare management applications2. In 2017, researchers expect that mHealth app services will reach $26 billion2.

It can’t be an afterthought anymore. That’s why we’ve put together a list of a few medical apps that are definitely worth trying3 on your smartphone and tablet. All of them have a free version!

When looking up popular medical apps, Epocrates earned our top spot. This great tool enables physicians to review drug prescriptions, safety information, select health insurance forms for drug coverage information, as well as perform calculations like BMI and GFR, plus it grants access to the latest medical news and research.


Of course you’ve heard about this one. Medscape compiles a wealth of information on all specialties and it’s a go-to resource for both patients and physicians. Available on iOS and Android, Medscape offers endless guides on prescription and safety information for drugs, learning videos, a medical calculator and access to continuing medical education materials. It’s always a good idea to encourage patients to become more educated about their condition and/or wellbeing.


This is a decision-support tool. Skyscape features drug information, a medical calculator, evidence-based clinical information and summaries of journal articles. Pretty good stuff.


Think of it as a LinkedIn for doctors. A professional network for physicians, Doximity offers the opportunity to connect with other family physicians and other specialists to gain insight or even expand your referral network. It comes with HIPAA-compliant faxing, emailing and text messaging. It can be downloaded on your iOS or Android device.


AAFP_Blog_Img_Affordable_Tech7Up To Date
Hundreds of thousands of physicians have installed this app, and it’s gaining popularity for good reason. Up To Date is a reference tool that comes with evidence-based recommendations, mobile-optimized calculators and a CME tracker.


AAFP_Blog_Img_Affordable_Tech8Read by QxMD
Family physicians can get a little overwhelmed with keeping up with medical literature and journals. Read makes this headache disappear by centralizing it all and putting it at your fingertips. It features a friendly magazine format that allows you to read and download studies, journals, and articles from a wide range of sources, including open access journals, Pubmed, and papers from recognized institutions.


AAFP_Blog_Img_Affordable_Tech3NEJM This Week
Get access to recent articles, images of medical conditions and listen to audio and video summaries of articles from the New England Journal of Medicine. Available only for iOS devices, this app also includes videos of medical procedures, and reports on recent research findings. Great content.


AAFP_Blog_Img_Affordable_Tech5Figure 1 – Medical Images
This free iOS and Android app allows you to view and share medical images with your colleagues around the world. They’ve built a strong community in the high six figures who leverage its ample visual database to send, comment and search through medical images.  Looking for feedback on a rare condition? Seeking to see and learn about rare or textbook cases? This app is perfect for you. Oh, don’t worry about patient privacy, the app comes equipped with automatic face-blocking and removal of all identifying information.


AAFP_Blog_Img_Affordable_Tech9Virtual Practice for Doctors
This mobile-based EMR is available on iOS, Android and online. Both the app and service are free, though you can upgrade to a premium version with advanced features like a patient portal and even your own custom domain. However, the free version offers a great avenue to communicate with patients outside the office, since it includes video chat, remote patient monitoring and the ability to answer typed patient questions.


Many people live by Evernote to improve productivity. A note-taking app that may eliminate the need for a medical scribe. Doctors can dictate notes, take photos or screenshots and save articles and other data. Evernote categorizes everything into your own searchable database, so you can find it later without digging through files.


Get “techy”
Some physicians worry that the strides taken by technology open a gap between the patient and the medical staff. On the contrary! Utilizing technology in your practice is a low-cost way to improve your day to day and quality of service and it will only enhance how satisfied your patients leave your office.

It’s all easier and more fun than you think.

Tell us, what other affordable apps and technologies are you relying on to improve your practice?






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AAFP Insurance Services
Attn: Policyholder Services
PO Box 7470
Leawood, KS 66207-0470

(800) 325-8166

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