“OK Google” is a voice command that is used to activate Google Now search on Android phones and Google Glass. For some Android phones, such as the Moto X, it even works when your phone is in sleep mode. With a recent UpToDate software update, you can now use “Ok Google” to search and activate medical content using just voice dictation. It doesn’t seem like a big deal until you think about the various applications for this.

Looking for prescription dosing: You can use this new feature to look up specific prescription dosing. If you’re looking for specific dosing of a medication, just say “OK Google, search UpToDate for dosing of …”.

Looking up disease pathology: For example, you can say, “OK Google, search UpToDate for myocardial infarction”:

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Then, your UpToDate app will automatically open, displaying the following:

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Using this voice dictation method saves several steps along the way. You don’t have to type anymore when looking up medical content on UpToDate.  Further, if you have access to the OK Google functionality when your Android phone is in sleep mode, you can literally ask any medical question and go directly to an UpToDate page without even touching your phone — pretty cool.

While not transformative, this iterative improvement is definitely impressive. UpToDate continues to be active in medical app development, recently being one of the first of the popular medical apps to add iPad multitasking.  These types of features also help distinguish UpToDate from other medical reference apps that are starting to show promise, such as Dynamed.

Unfortunately, you can’t use the Google Now app on iPhone or iPad to activate UpToDate in a similar method. This functionality is currently only available for Android phones.

If you don’t have “Ok Google” turned on yet, you can do so with a quick tutorial provided by Google.  Read one our prior tutorials if you want to learn how to install the UpToDate app for free using your institutional subscription.

Now if only I could get my EPIC electronic medical record to understand voice dictated order sets — one can hope.

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