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Smartphone Applications for Pharmacy Students

By: Hayeon Na, PharmD, Co-Copy Editor [Content-focused]

Going through the PharmD curriculum and working as a student pharmacist, I often wished that I could somehow connect my brain to all the wonderful pharmacy resources I had at home or in my bag. I don’t doubt that you’ve also had a variation of this idea of your own. Unfortunately, we can’t bring this dream to life yet using the technology we have on hand. But you can still find some useful resources by searching through some of the currently available apps on the market. If you ask me, having information at your fingertips is not the worst alternative to automatically downloading information to your brain. Of course, having the best artillery of drug-information apps on your mobile device may not have helped you much during finals week. But becoming familiar with some key resources and keeping a few screenshots handy, you’ll begin to internalize all the knowledge you thought couldn’t possibly fit in your head. The following are some of the apps that I found helpful for my tasks both in the community pharmacy and on the rounds during rotations.

  • Micromedex®1

It seems like many of us aren’t utilizing Micromedex® enough. St. John’s University provides students with a subscription, which includes mobile access. Navigating Micromedex® is similar to using the website. Here are the steps to getting the access code to activate mobile access:

  1. Download the Free Micromedex Drug Reference for Internet Subscribers (Apple and Windows 8 devices) or Free Micromedex Drug Reference (Android devices) onto your mobile device.
  2. On your device, log in through the school’s resources page onto the Micromedex web page.
  3. Under “Resources,” you’ll see a link named “Download Mobile Apps”
  4. Follow the steps to input the access code into the downloaded app on your phone
  • Lexicomp®2

This is often my go-to drug information resource. When I switched over from iOSTM to AndroidTM, I noticed a significant lag in the Android app; however, I think some of the lagging issues have resolved since. Unfortunately, students at St. John’s University do NOT have mobile access to Lexicomp. If your institution (most commonly school or hospital) provides this, here at the steps to activate the mobile access:

  1. Create a Lexicomp account with your institutional e-mail
  2. Select your platform and follow the directions in this link: 3 http://www.lexi.com/codes/?universal This will link your account to your institution’s subscription, enabling you to have access to Lexicomp® on your mobile phone
  • GoodRx4

      GoodRx, trademarked by GoodRx Inc., is a drug-price estimating Smartphone App (DPSA) that offers you an accurate price range for big chain pharmacies.5 The navigation is self-explanatory, and the app is frequently updated to provide up-to-date price estimations and coupon codes for prescription medications that are honored in many pharmacies.5 While this proves beneficial for those of us working in the community setting, it can also benefit those of us in hospitals, by helping smooth the uninsured patient’s transition after discharge (or those with high co-pays). Knowing drug prices before patients step into the pharmacy may mitigate their anxiety and lower barriers to prescription filling and adherence.5

  • Pharmacist’s Letter®

      All of us know and love the Pharmacist’s Letter® for their useful charts—if you haven’t checked it out yet, students at St. John’s University have access to it. This helpful mobile resource, with a different layout from the website, makes it convenient to easily access resources—say, a statin equivalency chart—to help support your dosing recommendation for safely and effectively switching over a patient from lovastatin to pravastatin, in an effort to cut drug costs. Plus, the next time you’re stuck on the bus, you can quickly catch up on the most current issues of Pharmacist’s Letter® using your mobile device.

  • HIV iChart

        Created and trademarked by the University of Liverpool, the HIV iChart makes it easy to check for interactions in patients with HIV. The app has a colorful and simple layout that is easy to navigate, and you can simply select the HIV medications from an existing list. One caveat is that the app doesn’t seem to have a search function. This means a lot more scrolling, but it may beat making typos when dealing with names of drugs that you just learned in class.

  • ASCVD Risk Estimator

      The ASCVD Risk Estimator, put together by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and American Heart Association® (AHA), is a quick way to compute the patient’s 10-year and lifetime risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), which may aid in determining the intensity of HMG-CoA inhibitor therapy along with other patient factors.6 Also available as a web-page (http://tools.cardiosource.org/ASCVD-Risk-Estimator/), this app will help you immensely when you want to put together that perfect SOAP note (sure to impress all your preceptors) on the new cardiac patient.

  • Medscape

      If you’re already on the list for e-mail updates from Medscape, this is a no-brainer. Medscape is a great resource for those who want to quickly brush up on the cholesterol guidelines or read the “Top 10 clinical trends for February 2015.”7 Because it’s a shard platform for physicians, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals, you can access content geared towards other professionals, which may be helpful in understanding the basics of some diseases.

For those who were hoping for some non-drug resource apps to lessen the workload, here are some apps that I always return to:

  • Adobe® Reader®

      To open, highlight, and type notes onto resources and lecture notes

  • DropboxTM

      This is already an immensely popular app. I use it to sync all of my best notes so I have them on all my devices, even on the school computer!

  • PDF-notes

      Unfortunately, this app is only available on Apple devices. I use this to take hand-written notes on lectures provided as PDF files. It has a wrist guard—a feature I love—that prevents you from accidentally marking up the PDF with your arm while you’re writing with a stylus.

  • Genius Scan

      Ever since I downloaded Genius Scan, my life has been as paperless as could be. This app converts images of loose leaf or handouts into PDF or JPEGs that can be e-mailed or saved on your mobile device, easily creating a digital copy of all your important papers.

There are millions of apps that I have yet to explore, including many that St. John’s University students do not have access to. Until I become a pharmacist, I may be missing out on some of the resources that are out of reach for me financially; still, this is a great place to start preparing for your pharmacy career, which may become even more dependent on mobile resources than mine has ever been in the past six years. If there are any corrections or updates that you’d like to make, please contact us. Now, I’m off to try out the new AMA citation generator on the Rho Chi Post’s author resources section. Hopefully I’ll catch up with you years down the line, on the other side of this digital revolution.


  1. Mobile Micromedex®. Micromedex® Solutions website. http://www.micromedexsolutions.com.jerome.stjohns.edu:81/micromedex2/librarian/ND_T/evidencexpert/ND_PR/evidencexpert/CS/901DEC/ND_AppProduct/evidencexpert/DUPLICATIONSHIELDSYNC/8B1303/ND_PG/evidencexpert/ND_B/evidencexpert/ND_P/evidencexpert/PFActionId/evidencexpert.Mobile. Accessed March 7, 2015.
  2. Installation Instructions for iPhone, iPod touch, & iPad. Lexicomp® website. http://www.lexi.com/pda/iphone/installation/. Accessed March 7, 2015.
  3. Access Your Smartphone & Mobile Device Software. Lexicomp® website. http://www.lexi.com/codes/?universal=. Accessed March 7, 2015.
  4. Frequently Asked Questions. GoodRx website. http://www.goodrx.com/faq. Accessed March 7, 2015.
  5. Choi S, Na H. Abstract: Drug Pricing Estimations with Smartphone Applications. New J J Pharm. 2014; 88(3): 12.
  6. Stone NJ, Robinson J, Lichtenstein AH, et al. 2013 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Treatment of Blood Cholesterol to Reduce Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Risk in Adults: A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation. June 24, 2014; 129(25): suppl 2 S1-S45.
  7. Medscape Pharmacists. Medscape website http://reference.medscape.com/pharmacists. Accessed April 3, 2015.

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