AMA launches coding app designed for doctors
■ Besides offering an intro CPT app, the Association is hosting a contest for physicians and medical students to create their own medical applications.
By Pamela Lewis Dolan — Posted April 11, 2011
The American Medical Association entered the physician mobile phone app market in March with the launch of its CPT Evaluation and Management Quick Reference app on Apple's iTunes store.
The free application is the AMA's attempt to enter the rapidly growing physician mobile health application market. The Association plans to launch at least two more apps this year.
The new app has about 130 CPT billing codes used for E&M visits. The AMA plans to launch updates to the application this year that will offer additional CPT codes for a fee. The advanced versions of the app are expected to allow users to customize it to a physician's needs.
The current version of the app will remain available for free as a "lite" version, which developers often utilize to entice users to a more expansive, paid version.
The app allows doctors to quickly look up commonly used billing codes as a reference that can be emailed. It features decision-tree logic and quick search options. Codes most frequently used can be saved by location or type for easy access.
"Quick access to accurate information physicians use daily was the goal behind creating the CPT app," said AMA Secretary Steven J. Stack, MD.
About 8,000 health-related apps are available at iTunes stores, with those specific to physicians increasing. Although CPT reference apps are not a new concept -- dozens are available on iTunes -- the AMA's app is one of the few offered for free. Others, which cost $50 or more, give users access to the entire CPT catalog.
The AMA hopes its next application will originate from physicians. On March 29, it launched an App Challenge in which doctors, including residents and fellows, and medical students can submit ideas for medical apps.
Submissions will be divided into two categories: ideas from physicians and suggestions from residents, fellows and students. AMA members will vote on the top five from each category.
The AMA will develop the top app idea from each group and unveil them at the Association's Interim Meeting in New Orleans in November. Winners also will receive $2,500 in prizes.
"We are eager to discover which other medical apps physicians, residents and medical students would find useful through their App Challenge idea submissions, and we are thrilled to be able to bring two of the best ideas to the physician community," Dr. Stack said.
The Association has received about 60 submissions. The deadline is June 30.