The University of Louisville School of Medicine has found that using smart phones gives students faster access to health information and more face time with patients, InformationWeek reports. Doctors’ scribbled prescription pads at the university have been replaced with Epocrates and other smart-phone applications. Students use the tools for classroom study and clinical work, giving them instant acccess to information, said Dr. Pradip Patel, associate vice chair for medical education at the school. "They can look up things on the fly, if they are in a patient room and don’t want to go into their office or go online," he said. The mobile apps also reduce the number of books students have to carry around. Mobile apps combine all the reference texts into a single device that is also a cell phone, pager, and web browser, so students can get the latest, up-to-date medical information. The school initially was concerned whether patients would accept the use of smart phones. It turned out to be a non-issue, Patel said. The school’s smart-phone strategy has changed over several years. Initially, the organization gave the students PalmPilots with the software pre-installed. But now, the school just licenses the software for use on students’ own devices. Epocrates lets the school use its software for free–a $95,000 savings–and having everyone using the same software brings the benefits of standardization, Patel said…

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