Glaucoma in a Digital World
In 2009, Apple trademarked the catch phrase, “There’s an app for that.” Today, there are apps for almost everything a person can think of, including finance, games, reading, fitness, and cooking. With so many options, separating the useful tools from the gimmicks can be challenging. Here are several apps that have helped me to care for my glaucoma patients:
1. Epocrates (Epocrates). At first, this mobile app was primarily designed to provide facts about drugs to physicians and other health care professionals. It gives up-to-date information on safety, diagnostics, and treatment, including FDA alerts, black box warnings, drug interaction checkers, and more for thousands of medications. No longer just a drug reference, this app now offers medical news, clinical specialty practice guidelines, billing and diagnosis codes, infectious disease treatment guidelines, disease content, laboratory and diagnostic information, health insurance formulary coverage details, location-specific bacterial resistance data, provider directories, and even alternative medicine content.
2. Eye Handbook (Cloud Nine Development). The offerings of this fairly comprehensive, ophthalmology-specific tool for clinicians include coding assistance, medical diagnostic and therapeutic support, glaucoma risk and IOL power calculators, surgical videos, a photographic atlas of the eye, mobile ophthalmic testing, technical support, a directory of ophthalmic professionals, visual depictions of patients’ symptoms, and forums for topical discussions.
3. GoodRx (GoodRx). This app helps patients obtain the best prices on their medications. After entering their prescription drugs into the app, patients will see pricing information from their local pharmacies. GoodRx provides patients with coupons for select medications, which can also save them money at the pharmacy of their choice. Both my patients and my staff have found this app tremendously helpful.
4. Kamra iDrop (AcuFocus), Easy Drops (Milan Eye), EyeDrops (Harpas International). These three mobile apps can facilitate patients’ adherence to prescribed medical therapy by helping them to set up phone reminders on when to instill eye drops.
5. Eyetube (BMC). Also available on the Web at eyetube.net, this useful app from the publisher of Glaucoma Today (GT) offers clinicians an extensive array of instructional surgical videos. It also features interviews with key opinion leaders across the field of ophthalmology who share their insights into new technologies, recent journal publications, and the evolving health care environment and make recommendations on how best to take care of patients.
Not currently an app but soon to be available on the Internet at eyetube.net is Glaucoma Today Outside the Box (GTOB). In the relatively informal style of a television news magazine, episodes of GTOB will provide an overview of the cover series of each issue of GT, highlight novel surgical techniques, alert viewers to advances in glaucoma and physicians’ accomplishments, and offer human interest stories and entertainment (see p. 35 of this issue). I hope that, like the publication GT itself, GTOB will benefit both eye care providers and their patients, and I encourage viewers to provide constructive feedback to this end. n
Steven D. Vold, MD
Chief Medical Editor