Smartphone assistance for prescribing information, mobilePDR, gets an upgrade

Competition continues with Epocrates for market share of doctors' viewership

An upgraded version of mobilePDR, a ready reference for physicians that includes much of the information originally developed for the Physicians Desk Reference (a print and online database) is now available from PDR LLC (Montvale, NJ). Updating a product that has been on the market for several years, the free (to healthcare providers [HCPs]) resource now features drug summaries; drug-to-drug comparisons and interactions; and pill identification. The unifying idea is to present relevant prescribing information when- and wherever the physician seeks it, and on tablets smartphones or desktop computers.

PDR counts pharma companies as among its network of health education partners, allowing an avenue for some degree of promotional spending by the industry. It claims access to 1.5 million HCPs, nosing ahead of the 1.4 million claimed by its rival, Epocrates.com (Watertown, MA). The latter, however, touts its repeat performance as the No. 1 digital channel to reach physicians, as measured just recently by Manhattan Research, a well-regarded market research company. For its part, Epocrates offers a range of marketing services opportunities for pharma, including spot surveys of physician panels, data on physician lookup trends and related data sets. Both companies tout extensive linkages into third-party electronic health record (EHR) systems (however, Epocrates is owned by one of them, AthenaHealth). And the EHR market itself offers a communication channel to physicians directly; for example, Practice Fusion (San Francisco), touted as the No. 1 cloud-based, EHR system for doctors’ offices, uses promotional spending from pharma in part to provide its EHR system for free.