Nuance, the makers of the popular desktop dictation software, Dragon Medical Dictation, have just released their first mobile medical app – Dragon Medical Mobile Search.  The app allows clinicians to search online medical content on their iPhone using their voice.

The app works in a carousel fashion, refer to the pictures included to understand what I mean.  Once you use your voice to look up a disease pathology or a drug, you are presented with 5 different search results: Google, IMO (ICD-9 codes), Medline, Drugs.mobi, and Medscape.

We’ve been waiting on this app for some time now.  At HIMSS 2010, Nuance gave iMedicalApps a sneak peak of this application in action.  The video clip of the preview is attached at the end of this post.

Also in the preview demo is the most eagerly anticipated product of theirs: Dragon Medical Mobile Recorder – their extremely popular desktop dictation software in the palm of your hand.  But back to their just released Medical Mobile Search app.

The most important question regarding this app: How well does it recognize the disease or drug you verbalize?

It’s easy to see how Nuance’s medical dictation software has gotten so popular once you use this app because it recognizes disease and drug names with ease.  Out of the 10 medical terms I tried on the app, it was correct 10 times.  Not enough of a sample size to have much power, but it handled Guillain-Barre with ease – that’s good enough for me.  Although the app is extremely accurate, the actual content you’re able to extract dulls the excitement.

What I liked:

*It’s free [per their iTunes description, it’s free for only a limited time]
*Extremely accurate
*Searching for ICD-9 codes is quick and fast
*Carousel functionality is a great way to quickly access the content you desire
*Extremely fast application overall – could easily use in a busy clinic setting

What I didn’t like:

*Requests personal information at the beginning – this can easily be circumvented by putting in random information
*Requires a dedicated internet connection – 3G, EDGE, or Wi-Fi
*For Medscape search results, you have to login every time.
*For Medline search results, even though there is an “email out” function, you can’t do it. Plus, as the picture shows, you cant exactly type in multiple search phrases, such as “renal artery stenosis and ACE inhibitors”.

How can it be useful for medical professionals?

*Searching for ICD-9 codes
*If you can’t remember how to spell a certain disease or drug
*Drug reference tool [only if you trust drugs.mobi as a medical reference tool]

The main functionality in this app will come from other companies, such as Epocrates, using the SDK to have voice commands within their app. This is explained in the HIMSS post we did on Nuance.

What’s interesting is in the demo we got (attached below and starting at the 50 second mark) of the Dragon Medical Mobile Search app, they actually had Epocrates as one of the tools in the carousel, but this is no longer the case upon the release of the app.

Since this app is free for a limited time and provides a solid level of functionality, you should at least try it out.

Links: iTunes, Dragon Medical Mobile Search