Technology in the trenches: Best mobile apps for pediatricians

November 1, 2011

Pediatricians have become avid users of smartphone and tablet technology in their personal and professional lives. With many more apps to come, find here our picks for the most useful of the current batch.

In 2007, the late Steve Jobs changed the world with the introduction of the iPhone, and 1 year later the App Store premiered, providing users the opportunity to run downloadable applications-apps-on their smartphones.

The popularity of apps for both Apple and Android smartphones eventually led to the introduction of "one more thing" in January 2010-the iPad tablet computer, aptly described by Jobs as a "magical" device.

A funny thing has happened over the 4 years since Apple unleashed touchscreen mobile devices. Pediatricians, previously conservative in adopting new technologies, have become frequent users of smartphones and tablet computers. In our nonprofessional lives, we use these mobile devices to communicate with friends and family by phone, email, text, or tweets as well as to read books, to play music, and to watch movies.

Rounding help

During daily rounds in the nursery and on the pediatric ward, I use a few of my favorite smartphone apps to speed things along. For example, in many nurseries, daily weight continues to be recorded in kilograms. When parents ask me what their babies weigh in pounds and ounces, I use an iPhone app called Converter Plus to quickly translate this information for parents and for my daily notes.

And when parents take my picture with their smartphone for their baby book, I use this photo op to tell parents to consider installing a useful app on their mobile device created by Barton Schmitt, well known for his telephone protocols.

This is KidsDoc (a subset of Symptom MD, which includes advice for adults as well) from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). This iPhone app can be used to find answers to many routine questions for new parents, including those related to circumcision and cord care, spitting up, rashes and birthmarks, teething, fever management, and so on.