Healthcare Technology Featured Article

June 24, 2013

Epocrates Uses Multiple Channels to Deliver Critical Info to Physicians

The world of medicine changes rapidly, and physicians who are already pressed for time don't always have the luxury of sitting and reading the latest medical journals. Epocrates is addressing this issue by delivering timely content to physicians using the Web, mobile messaging and its free iPhone app.

The key, says Dr. Anne Meneghetti, director of clinical communications for Epocrates, is to deliver complex medical content in short, easy-to-digest pieces. "Our team of medical editors evaluate the rich content made available by these gold-standard content providers and translate it into a clinician-friendly format and language," said Meneghetti.

"We call it 'Epocratizing' content," she added, "which our clinician network has come to expect from us."

On the Web, for example, Epocrates hosts content from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) including handouts on topics like weight management and sexually transmitted diseases. Doctors can either print the documents or e-mail them to patients.

The CDC also delivers content to Epocrates related to current or local events, such as information on disease outbreaks, emerging resistant bacteria, emergency response information and immunization updates. Epocrates then micro-targets relevant CDC alerts to physicians according to their specialty and location.

For the Agency for Healthcare Research Quality (AHRQ), Epocrates enables access to its National Guideline Clearinghouse and electronic preventive services selector tool (EPSS). Epocrates also selects certain guidelines to be sent to physicians via mobile messaging.

For example, this year Epocrates has sent out over 5.3 million mobile messages to doctors on 35 different AHRQ guidelines. These messages have influenced physician decisions regarding issues like gastric reflux, cancer screening and drug allergies.

The Epocrates free iPhone app provides access to National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines regarding colon, breast and prostate cancers. Additional cancer treatment information, or Clinical Practice Guidelines, will be added in future updates.

"What can I say—they have a secret sauce that works," said Dr. Russell Pachynski, who practices in Palo Alto, Calif. "I know if it comes from Epocrates, it will have all the key info that I need and will be highly relevant to my practice."

Edited by Alisen Downey

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