Health IT

Virtual “black bag” iPad app to help healthcare professionals customize reference material, tools

You know there are a lot of apps in the health care industry when companies start offering ways to more easily organize and access them. One physician marketing company has developed an iPad app to make it easier for health care professionals to customize medical information and tools relevant to their profession and specialty, according […]

You know there are a lot of apps in the health care industry when companies start offering ways to more easily organize and access them. One physician marketing company has developed an iPad app to make it easier for health care professionals to customize medical information and tools relevant to their profession and specialty, according to a company statement. The service will also be welcomed by companies targeting those specialties.

Physicians Interactive‘s Omnio app, launched today, is designed to identify the most relevant resources from publishers, peers and professional associations. Clinicians can bookmark and tag reference materials, dosage calculators, drug alerts and websites websites that they use most frequently.

Health care professionals can also get access to news, reference books and journal articles recommended by medical societies and peers, with more expected to be added. “Think of it as an Amazon affiliate marketplace for healthcare professionals,” said Dr. Gautam Gulati, Chief Medical Officer and senior vice president of product management with Physicians Interactive.

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Gulati told MedCity News in a phone interview that the next version of Omnio, expected to be released later this year, will include an activity wall, similar to what you might see on LinkedIn, with news updates and drug alerts, for example. It would also like to develop an e-prescribing tool directly from the app and provide a way for physicians to order samples and provide cloud-based storage.

“The holy grail here is if you can marry a clinical information suite with patient data,” Gulati said.

Physicians Interactive’s acquisition of Skyscape in 2009 positioned the company for the mobile market. The deal gave the company a central distribution platform that enables collaboration with third parties who can track usage rates and provide a high level summary of their content, Gulati said and added that anyone can provide content through its application. The company’s revenue is derived from sponsorships. He sees Omnio as providing a way to compete with Epocrates, acquired by athenahealth earlier this year for $293 million.

“If you think of Epocrates as a watch, it’s a single function device that looks nice and by habit people just put it on,” challenged Gulati. “But what people are looking for is a multifunctional device. People don’t use their watches to tell the time anymore; they use their smartphones.”

Pharmaceutical companies interest in the mobile market has been ramping up. Pharmaceutical industry companies have been particularly interested in accessing physicians on social networks, at least one company has figured out an effective way to help them. This is an interesting way to give those companies access, customized by specialty. If the app fits into the workflow of healthcare professionals it could make a difference.