Epocrates, the venerable medical reference company, has bought Modality – a prolific iOS app making company.  With the launch of the App Store by Apple, Modality bet big early by focusing on apps and were the first large company in the medical educational app space – boasting titles such as Netters and Procedures Consult and bringing them to life in a mobile and aesthetically pleasing form.  We have reviewed quite a few of their apps and more often than not come away impressed [click on links for full reviews by iMedicalApps].

Although Modality does boast a wide variety of medical apps, they have worked on non-medical apps as well.  It will be interesting to see if this partnership will cause Modality to focus more on the medical and health care aspect of app making or if they will maintain their non-medical educational component.

This is clearly a move that makes sense for Epocrates. From the press release, it appears they are eager to use Modality’s mobile app development expertise for medical app making – possibly for an iPad customized Epocrates app?  Remember, Epocrates still does not have an iPad customized app. To those who might be unaware, Skyscape came out an iPad customized version of their medical reference app many months ago – currently I defer to Skyscape instead of Epocrates when using my iPad to look up medical reference information.

From an educational component, this deal has huge ramifications for Epocrates.  If you look at the extremely popular MedScape app – it has a large educational component that has helped make it number one in our top 10 free medical apps list.  Modality knows how to develop great educational modules, and Epocrates would be shortsighted not to add educational functionality to it’s app in the future.

Android and other non-iOS smart phone users could be left out

One area of concern for Android and other non-iOS users – Modality is currently focused on making apps in the App Store – not Android. They have apps for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and the iPad, but have not ported these applications over to the Android platform.  Of note, Modality works with medical publishers to bring their content to a mobile platform – they do not create original medical content.

This might be why the apps they have made have not been ported over to the Android platform, but it’s also cause for concern to non-Apple device holders.  This is highlighted even more when you see that Epocrates still does not have a premium version of their popular medical reference app for the Android.

Hopefully this partnership will instead allow Epocrates to focus on the medical content, while Modality can focus on bringing the content to mobile form, not only for Apple devices, but other mobile devices as well.

-Prior Epocrates app review by iMedicalApps

Source: Press Release