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What Will Take Down the Epocrates Monopoly?

Posted on August 22, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

The most popular mobile health app for medical professionals is far and away Epocrates. I haven’t seen the latest numbers on Epocrates physician install base, but they have what I consider a pretty solid monopoly when it comes to drug information on a mobile device. Almost every doctors has Epocrates, uses it, and can’t imagine life without the information Epocrates provides.

Consider Epocrates dominance in this area, it made me start to wonder what changes could occur that could cause Epocrates to fall from its pedestal. Here are just a few thoughts on what could diminish Epocrates powerful market presence.

Drug Information Integrated with the EHR – If I were Epocrates, this would be my biggest concern. If I’m a doctor seeing a patient, I’m certain to have my EHR close by. If I can find the information Epocrates right in my EHR, then why would I open up another device to find the same information which is just a click away? The answer is that you wouldn’t. The good news for Epocrates is that it will take a while for EHR vendors to integrate this info. EHR companies are a bit distracted by something called meaningful use right now.

No iPad App – Yes, you can use the regular iPhone optimized Epocrates app on the iPad, but how is it possible that Epocrates has missed out on not creating an iPad optimized version? Considering physicians deep love of the iPad this is crazy to consider. Imagine the possibilities with so much more screen real estate as well. What a missed opportunity for Epocrates.

Lack of Epocrates Focus – The best example of Epocrates lack of focus was the Epocrates EHR. They first announced the Epocrates EHR at HIMSS 2010. Almost 2 years later and right after the official launch of their EHR, they shutdown the Epocrates EHR. Distractions like creating an EHR is an example of how Epocrates lack of focus could lead to issues in their core business.

Public Company – Yes, Epocrates is now a public company (EPOC:NASDAQ). Will being a public company cause issues with Epocrates? The founder is already gone and working at Doximity. We’ll see how Epocrates does with the challenges of being a publicly traded company.

Don’t misunderstand me. Epocrates is still well positioned in the medical space. However, I think there are opportunities for entrepreneurial companies to cut into Epocrates current monopoly.

One thing I do wonder is why Epocrates hasn’t come out with some killer APIs for their drug information. Epocrates has all of the info, and EHR companies would love to have that info integrates into their EHR. Seems like the perfect marriage. I expect the answer is that Epocrates doesn’t have the expertise to execute on the API front.

XX in Health: Women Leading Healthcare

Posted on I Written By

While women make up a significant part of the healthcare workforce, they are underrepresented as decision-makers. Women tend to be concentrated in lower-status health occupations and a minority as executives. They want you to share stories and insights online on why gender diversity in healthcare leadership is important. Write a blog or article and let them know and they will share it on their website – visit for more info.



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Five Health Communities Every Patient Should Use

Posted on I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

Here are Smart Phone Health Care, I’ve focused a lot on mobile health apps. However, there are also a lot of great websites out there that have been designed to help the average person take control of their health. Some of these websites have mobile apps that accompany the sites, but even those that don’t can be accessed from a mobile browser. Here are some of the best patient information/health communities out there, at least in my opinion:

1. WebMD: I think this is quite possibly the most well-known health website out there, but it definitely should be included in this list. I recently reviewed their smart phone app, but I absolutely love their website. It’s the one I turn to most with my medical questions. Sometimes, they might provide too much information (only because it’s fuel for my hypochondriac-ism). This is definitely a one-stop medical website, as it has everything from search tools for symptoms and doctors, to medical news, to different categories with plenty of information, including healthy living, drugs and supplements, and parenting and pregnancy. I like that registered users are able to store and access health records on the site, and that, if a user allows it, healthcare providers can access the information. It’s also an interactive community, with blogs and forums, as well as the “ask the experts” feature. The site is available free of charge.

2. Vitals: When I was looking for an OB/GYN, I frequented this website. It’s a database of just about every physician around the country, and even has many international doctors listed. You can search by the doctor’s name, location, specialty, or medical need, so even if you don’t have a specific doctor in mind, you can find one that fits your needs. Users are encouraged to rate doctors on several different categories, specifically on ease of appointment, promptness, courteous staff, accurate diagnosis, beside manner, amount of time spent with patient, and follow up. It also shows which hospitals a doctor is associated with, their location, education, and other languages spoken. There’s also a cool feature where you tell the website what symptoms you have, and based on that information, a doctor is recommended for you. You can even add in an insurance filter, so you don’t waste time calling someone who doesn’t take your insurance (believe me, I know how frustrating that can be!)

3. Livestrong: This website always is among the first two or three search results whenever I have been Googling anything health related. I’ve come to really like this site, and the detailed information it provides. It was founded by Lance Armstrong and Richard Rosenblatt since March of 2008, and has been going strong ever since. The site was created to help people make good and health decisions, give inspiration, and a provide an outlet of reliable information. From the moment you enter the website, it is a customized experience — you select your gender, and then you are brought to a page with gender-specific information. Livestrong has SO much information that is pertinent to just about anyone and any topic. I’ve found ideas for substitutes for different ingredients, calorie information, and general health news. also has a great mobile app where you can track your calories and exercise.

4. Healthline: I’ve never actually used this website, but from what I have read, it is highly recommended. It is supposed to be an alternate option for going to the doctor. You can type in your symptoms and suggested diagnoses appear, and you can search for medical advice. There is a lot of information on this page about different conditions, so if you have been diagnosed with something, this would be a good place to go to find out more information. Like all the other websites I have mentioned, advice is free of charge. There is an option to sign up for alerts when information on specific topics are added, and even when something by a specific doctor or writer is updated. It is similar to WebMD in its function, but definitely has a different feel to it in my opinion.

5. iMedix: This is a social media, health community where there are support group for different conditions, where people can ask questions of other users, as well as search the large database of information that is available. Users can create profiles and message other users, and there is a great list of question and answers. I am a member of a “birth club” for the month my son was born on, and it’s just kind of nice to have a support group of people going through similar situations. I could see similar comfort coming from the support groups available on this site, which range from fitness, to depression, to the swine flu. There are some great search features, and I think it seems like a very well-managed health community. I love how it incorporates social media, and allows users to really customize their experience.