Medical iPhone Apps Find an Audience

Apple iPhone applications aimed at health care professionals are expanding a wide selection of apps dedicated to healthy living.

Apple's App Store is widely known for the width and breadth of content to be found, from mobile games to travel guides to green applications like a community recycling finder. While popular (and controversial) apps grab headlines for innovative or outrageous content, with so many applications available, it is encouraging to see Apple fine-tune its ranking of apps: The company recently added a "Top Grossing" search option that lets users scan the top grossing apps in the entire store.

As the health care blog "mobihealthnews" points out, personal fitness and health applications are flexing their muscles right alongside media players and Battle Bears. A $1.99 application called iFitness, an exercise database with instructions for bulking up or slimming down, leads the group of health apps at 19th place overall. The app, released in mid-September, also leads the App Store's "Healthcare and Fitness" section.

And then there's an application called "Tap & Track" from a Croatian software development company, Nanobit Software, that is designed to help users track their calories and weight and improve their exercise regimen. The application costs $2.99.

While the majority of health and fitness apps offer basic, yet helpful services like calorie counters and fitness companions, as well as pricier services like anatomy guides (Netter's Anatomy, $39.99), there is some evidence developers are aiming to provide more sophisticated applications for medical professionals as well as consumers. This week Webahn, a clinical documentation solutions company, announced the launch of two new iPhone apps for physicians: Capzule for its online EMR (electronic medical records) service and Accent, a voice recording application for its online transcription service

Capzule is a free, Web-based EMR app that enables physicians to access patient information instantly while away from the clinic. Specially designed for small practices, it has the capability to send messages, add notes, prescribe medications and write orders. Accent, which sells for $0.99, allows physicians to dictate patient notes and letters on iPhone and send them to for transcription. The app also lets users edit audio files and tag dictations with key information, and it features search capability and the ability to access dictations from desktop PCs over Wi-Fi.

"We are upgrading the tools that physicians rely on most to access and update patient data," said Webahn CEO Vinu Nair. "Browsing charts on desktops and dictating onto telephone systems or digital recorders make less sense when you have a mobile device like iPhone, which can do much more and much better."