Perhaps you're an early adopter of the latest and greatest technology, or you favor simple tools that make your life easier. Either way, chances are there's a trusty little gadget you find indispensible. We asked your fellow physicians to name a few of their favorites. Here's what they said:
1. iPhone. For iPhone-loving physicians — and there are a lot of them — the widely popular gadget is much more than a phone. When patients come into Melissa Young's office with a pill box of "mystery meds," the New Jersey-based endocrinologist uses the Epocrates app to identify the medications. When she's waiting at her daughter's gymnastics lessons, she downloads CME apps and stocks up on credits. South Carolina family medicine physician Craig Koniver says he likes using the Pocket Informant app, among others, to keep track of reminders and his schedule.
2. iPad2. Numerous Facebook fans and Twitter followers told us this is their favorite gadget. Says Michigan-based otolaryngologist Russell Faust: "The Citrix app allows me to sign my e-charts at the hospital while I am anywhere, without the cumbersome desktop login. Inexplicably, the iPad2 login is faster than the desktop system. For free."
3. Droid X2. The iPhone is facing some competition among physicians. Minnesota-based family physician Heidi Huser says she uses her Droid X2 to access weather updates, a GPS, Kindle books, e-mail, the JogTracker app, and Pandora radio.
4. External battery pack. Physicians are bound to run out of mobile juice every once in a while. A portable battery pack is a great way to recharge while on the go. Pennsylvania-based internal-medicine physician Joseph Kim's favorite is the TekCharge MP1860A. The dual-port power pack with two USB outputs can simultaneously charge an iPad, iPhone, iPod, or any other compatible device.
5. BlackBerry. For physicians who prefer a keyboard to a touch-screen phone, Faust says his BlackBerry smart phone is the optimal choice. "Give me a great, real keyboard any day," he says. "When voice recognition improves to the point that smart phones are as good at it as my desktop, then I may make the switch."
6. Pulse Oximeter. This is a little gadget with big abilities, says Ohio-based family physician Mike Sevilla. The pulse oximeter shows very quickly if patients on chronic oxygen therapy need to head to the emergency room. And though the handy tool was once pricey, Sevilla says it's now much more affordable.
7. Zaggfolio iPad2 Case + Keyboard. For all those fans of the iPad2, this case item — an iPad2 case that doubles as a keyboard — is a must-have, says Kim. Especially for physicians who work in a variety of offices and exam rooms. As an added bonus, the case/removable keyboard comes with a built-in stand system.
8. Sharpie Pens. Gadgets don't necessarily mean "high-tech." California-based plastic surgeon Curtis Wong says one of his favorite gadgets is a tried-and-true classic: Sharpie pens. He uses them to mark patients.
Marisa Torrieri is associate editor of Physicians Practice. She can be reached at [email protected].
Aubrey Westgate is associate editor of Physicians Practice. She can be reached at [email protected].
This article originally appeared in the November 2011 issue of Physicians Practice.