By Wendy Sarubbi | December 10, 2012 3:32 pm

Medical students at the College of Medicine can now access the Epocrates medical software app through their iPads, thanks to the Harriet F. Ginsburg Health Sciences Library.

Although the app had been available for iPod Touches and iPhones, Epocrates Inc. launched an app for the iPad in early December. The app offers quick access to reliable information about drugs, diseases and diagnostics at the point of care. It is available for free to students at the UCF College of Medicine, while the library pays a small fee for faculty to download the app. Contact any library staff member for information about downloading Epocrates.

“Epocrates is used by most major hospitals in Central Florida, so it’s important for students to be familiar with it,” said library director Nadine Dexter. “Doctors also like the app because it helps students learn pharmacology.”

Users of the software will find Rx, a guide to brand, generic and over-the-counter medicines; a drug interaction check; and a pill ID; and Essentials, which includes detailed information about drugs and diseases, diagnostic tools, lab tests and panels with reference ranges.

For example, a patient arrives in the emergency room with a bag of pills. Health-care professionals can quickly identify the medicine through images and information provided by the iPad app.

Tablet technology is growing in popularity with physicians, according to Manhattan Research’s “Taking the Pulse U.S. 2012” survey of 3,015 physicians in 25 specialties. The survey, during the first three months of 2012, showed that 62 percent of physicians owned a tablet computer, up from 27 percent in 2011

M2 Cole Feffer said he likes Epocrates because of its “user-friendly interface with quick access and reliable content.”

“I personally have found the Epocrates App to be a very valuable tool. Generally I turn to Epocrates whenever I need to quickly reference a specific disease whether I am shadowing a doctor or participating in a team-based learning exercise,” Cole said.

“A quick Google powered search for a medical query usually generates websites that are tailored toward explaining medicine to the general public and lack the detail needed for a medical student. More often than not, I inevitably find myself on a Wikipedia page, which is essentially taboo in the academic community. Epocrates helps to navigate me through the salient aspects of a medical disorder in a very timely fashion.”

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