Friday, April 25, 2008

Free Medical PDA Software

Family caregivers seem to get a crash course in being health care professionals. Along with everything else that they are responsible for, one of the most important is they have to act as a pharmacist. They need to keep track of what medications their care recipient is prescribed and to double check that the prescriptions, which can be from multiple doctor‘s offices, do not conflict with other prescriptions that their care recipient is taking.

I learned that lesson first when my grandmother was nearly killed (several times) by prescriptions that should never have been mixed being prescribed to her, then when I called my father’s own prescriptions on a doctor one day. Because of my familiarity with what my father is taking, I had caught a potentially life threatening interaction that the doctor had never even noticed when they had prescribed something.

The trouble is, it can be hard to keep all of the drugs and their possible side effects and interactions straight. Coumadin, for example, requires a careful diet with foods high in vitamin K closely watched. My dad is limited on some foods and forbidden others. He can not have anything with cranberries in it because cranberries are high in Vitamin K and that interacts with the Coumadin he is taking to regulate his blood.

How does anyone keep such things under control? Thankfully there are a lot of things that I have found over the years that are intended for health care professionals but can translate well into use by family caregivers. Such as the free medical PDA software from Epocrates.

This software is intended to be used by physicians to cross reference possible drug interactions when they are prescribing medications for patients, however, I find it to be a great idea for a way in which family caregivers can discreetly double check new prescriptions for possible interactions to old prescriptions, and other concerns, before they leave the doctor's office.

In addition to the PDA version, Epocrates has medical software for other devices, such as: Pocket PC, Palm, Windows Mobile. They have also recently launched medical software for Blackberry, and are working with Apple to develop a downloadable guide for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

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This announcement was paid for by Epocrates.

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