Medicine by Smartphone by Stella Fitzgibbons MD


Yeah, I still keep some handy texts in the car or office, and I have some favorite websites I consult when a patient blindsides me with a history of moyamoya disease or autoimmune myelopathy. But whether I’m covering inpatients, helping at the clinic or getting called to the ER, I am profoundly grateful for my smartphone. Look at what I have: a drug reference program that also handles calculations from BMI to predicted peak flows, emergency texts on pediatrics and orthopedics, foreign language dictionaries, and an app that lists the meds my patients can get for four dollars.

Does anybody remember those little loose-leaf notebooks we carried in our pockets? Or scribbling necessary phone numbers in the margins of our Sanford Guide? Or trying to decide if our pockets could hold both Harriet Lane and the Washington Manual?
EHRs may be a thorn in our side, but technology makes some things easier for us. And I think our patients will be just fine with the idea of us carrying all that info on our belts.


Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  1 comment for “Medicine by Smartphone by Stella Fitzgibbons MD

  1. Cynthia Freel, MD
    September 20, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    I hear you Stella I do. And I too have those apps on my phone. But I can’t get past the idea that I am having my personal phone in the room with the patients. I do it when it is absolutely necessary. Otherwise I don’t and if I need one of those apps I run and get it. The patients don’t seem to mind that. I don’t know, I think it stems for me from when cell phones became the norm and patients would answer then in the room during my history and exam. That used to drive me crazy. This would be the scenario: “ring-ring” “Oh sorry Doc just a sec. Hello? Oh hey, you know I am in the room with the doctor right now, can I call you back? Yeah right now, yeah in the room with her right now. …” Really?? I can’t tell you how many times I would want to grab the phone out of their hands and throw it across the exam room. Or when the person on the other end of the line, for some reason still didn’t seem to believe I was actually there, I would end up yelling -“yeah I’m right here waiting for you to get off the phone with my patient” I always wanted to throw some explatives in there, but, I kept those supratentorial.
    And I fondly remember my Ferry Manual, my Scut Monkey, my Sanford guide. I still have this index card that is about to fall apart all frayed and worn, you can’t read most of the phone #s on it. I was reminded of how I like to have something tangible recently when U2 was nice enough to give all us peeps with apple products a free copy of their new album “Songs of Innocence” – which is awesome by the way. But I still like my vinyl, not for great sound quality alone, but for the physical sensations associated with it, holding it, feeling it, reading the liner notes. Its just not the same with digital music. That connection is lost.
    So maybe that is why I miss my little books.
    Now you know when I get my new iPhone I am gonna get as much space as possible to hold all this data and apps that is for sure.

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