Scientific and technological advances are tangible in all areas of life, but the biggest change is in information management systems. With the help of constantly evolving digital products, the modern individual can search, process, and analyze any information in a matter of minutes. Such transformations are significant in health care since they enable optimization and automation of health care processes. At the same time, among a large number of commercial products, the most effective and valuable should be distinguished. A critical evaluation of three digital products used for health tasks is the purpose of this paper.
According to the advertising text on one of the digital posters for this mobile app, Epocrates is the leading app in the medical user experience. An assessment of the app’s overall purpose identifies that its central purpose is to facilitate patient interaction with clinical appointments and physician prescriptions (Epocrates, n.d.). More specifically, the functionality of Epocrates includes a database of general drug information — including safe dosages and adverse reactions — and information about drug interactions. The latter is critical when a patient has been prescribed more than one medication but cannot mix them. Moreover, with Epocrates, the patient can automatically calculate concentrations and dosages of unique drugs and learn coverage plans by drug and state in the United States.
The app’s features and critical evaluation of user reviews should be further elaborated in the context of the positives and negatives. First of all, the Epocrates app from the AppStore receives updates about once a week, which means it can always be used as a current and timeless drug research solution. In addition, the app can be customized to the user’s preferences, including home screen settings, font, and favorite categories: this is also an essential factor to work with. Finally, the app saves users much time by offering specific, precise answers to clinical questions rather than broad studies. In contrast, to take advantage of all the functionality (which includes alternative medicine tools, labs, and the use of scientific databases), the user must pay a monthly subscription of $16.99, which definitely cannot be called an advantage. The second downside is the underdeveloped usage that users point out: the inability to search for all medicines, technical errors, and page loading speeds. Finally, the app only has a mobile version and cannot be opened on computers, making it difficult to use in clinical settings and for seniors without smartphones.
Like Epocrates, Skyscape ML is a popular digital health app for mobile platforms. Skyscape ML has a long history dating back to the first apps, with an interface focus on clinical professionals, not just patients (Skyscape Medpresso Inc, 2021). The app’s functionality includes more than four hundred dosing calculators, articles about medications, differentiation into brands and generics, and databases of evidence-based data on specific diseases and symptoms. In addition, with Skyscape ML, the user can read current topical news and scientific articles.
The app’s strengths include excellent functional integration and the implementation of a highly efficient search engine. A second strength is the ability to use the app on various platforms, whether a cell phone, tablet, or computer. Finally, the application weighs only 82.1 MB and will not take up much memory on a cell phone, especially relevant devices with little memory reserve. The downsides of using Skyscape ML are the abundance of subscriptions to medical reference books within the app and the presence of paid features, including nursing guides. In addition, ecosystem usage is poorly implemented because it is not possible to manage one account on an iPhone and iPad simultaneously, and the customer has to buy two subscriptions. Finally, Skyscape ML does not update as often, and so all the technical problems of users are not fixed at the first complaints.
Miiskin Skin Tracker & eHealth
Finally, the no. 1 app in the medical category in the AppStore is Miiskin Skin Tracker & eHealth (MSTH). The digital product’s targeting is done in the direction of self-examination of skin rashes, moles, and blemishes for dermatological monitoring (Miiskin ApS, 2021). With the scanning tool, the user can monitor their skin to prevent the development of cancer. The application has broad academic and public acceptance, and therefore deservedly ranks first in the rankings.
The first advantage of MSTH is its emphasis: with the help of home monitoring, the user gets the opportunity to examine their moles personally and get knowledge about the types of malignant neoplasms and ways to identify them. Second, photos taken with the camera can be sent to the treating physician directly from the app and streamed to the big screen for a more detailed examination. Finally, the MSTH database saves the photos taken to track the evolution of mole size: this is crucial for the early detection of precancerous conditions. The downside of using it is a paid subscription (starting at $4.99), including advanced functionality. Second, the app is massive and requires at least 200 MB of free space, with photo caching increasing this reserve. Finally, many users complain about the non-transparent subscription system, where money can be automatically deducted even the first time without the user’s consent. It is also hard to find a button in the app itself to cancel a paid subscription.
In emphasizing this, it is essential to say that mobile apps have become deeply integrated into today’s health care agenda. This paper critically examined three digital age products: Epocrates, Skyscape ML, and MSTH. The first and second of these have broadly similar focuses, but the first focuses on more than just clinical workers. The third is an entirely different product aimed at studying a specific branch of medicine. Given the critical analysis performed, it is appropriate to place the following priority order of applications: Epocrates > MSTH > Skyscape ML. The order is justified by the product’s functionality, cost, average user score, and technical data.
Epocrates. (2021). Epocrates. App Store preview. Web.
Miiskin ApS. (2021). Miiskin Skin Tracker & eHealth. App Store preview. Web.
Skyscape Medpresso Inc. (2021). Skyscape Medical Library. App Store preview. Web.