Doctor Love, iPhone & Epocrates App

by | Feb 26, 2009

driphoneFastCompany contributor and Social Media guru, Robert Scoble, interviews a Stanford physician on his use of Epocrates on the iPhone.  An excellent interview that is well worth your time for several reasons:

1) With over 600,000 physicians using Epocrates (1 in 4 physicians in the US use Epocrates) it is arguably the number one mobile medical app used today.

2) The Stanford physician is a long-time user of Epocrates and does an excellent job of relating his own experiences with the application and goes on to discuss how Epocrates is now being used in the South Pacific as part of Foundation he helps run, providing some global perspective on the use of Epocrates in a rural developing country.

3) The physician outlines the three core competencies a doctor needs to succeed: listening skills, care skills and having a knowledge-base.  Relates his personal experience of being able to self-fulfill listening and caring, but knowledge is another story.  The high-churn/demand to stay abreast of numerous healthcare developments (e.g., new medications, ADEs, etc.) necessitates a tool like Epocrates is to insure that knowledge-base is current.

4) The VP of Marketing for Epocrates is also involved in the interview, but to a much lesser extent than the physician.  What is of interest here are some of her comments regarding physicians, technology adoption and future direction/product development at Epocrates.  Couple of key points:

  • Doctors are not technophobic its just that most technology (eg an EMR on a desktop) do not fit their workflow/practices or may not provide sufficient value to be used.
  • Epocrates intends to expand the platform’s capabilties in the direction of deeper decision support tools and I would not be surprised to see an embedded eRx solution as well.

A recent post highlighted my initial impressions with the iPhone where I mentioned that Epocrates really has a beautiful mHealth (or should it be mMedicine) app.  Clearly, with such high adoption rates among physcians I am certainly not alone in my praise for this app.  Epocrates is a company worth following closely as they will be leading the pack of mHealth developers for the foreseeable future.  Listen closely as this interview provides insight as to what makes them so successful.


  1. NL

    The first of the two key points is excellent. For health care professional to adopt a technology, whatever it may be, it has to create value for their practice. Epocrates and other tech companies that create practical solutions that compliment a practice’s workflow will be the ones that succeed, regardless of a stimulus package or other financial incentive.

    Well done Epocrates and congrats on your adoption success.

  2. Chris Hall


    I watched the video and was awestruck. Imagine the orders of magnitude of efficiency gains when they add work flow into such an already useful tool. I never thought about mobile technology being a key to improved healthcare, but this video interview opened my eyes.

    Thanks for sharing.


  3. moishesdad

    Very cool app for sure. Do you know what is going on with management though? I see they know have an “interim CEO”. Did the former CEO get the boot due to an unsuccessful attempt to go public?

  4. go doc

    I use the iPhone to do a lot more than look up medications which is nice but does not help my day to day practice, I submit ePrescriptions, capture billing codes and create notes using an app called iChart, I do use epocrates on occasion as well .



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