Physicians (and anyone else, actually) now have a new mobile black-bag to carry around. At it’s pretty slick.
Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has now publicly launched BlackBag for the iPhone, available as a free download in the iTunes app store. From the announcement on the J&J blog:
- The BLACKBAG™ iPhone Application … gives physicians access to the latest medical information at their fingertips. Within the first two months of launching the app, BLACKBAG was downloaded by approximately 24,000 users. The idea behind the BLACKBAG app was to provide physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and other health care professionals with easy access to resources and tools to help them stay informed; an electronic version of a doctor’s “black bag.” The app contains unbranded content across a number of medical areas and specialties.
One concern, right off, was that BlackBag might give J&J a black eye if OMJ was serving as a conduit/curator of information. Would potentially unfavorable published clinical content be “filtered”? This worry was allayed by a J&J source close to the development of the application, who indicated that information would not be filtered, and the OMJ’s commitment to a very open approach to information delivery would be even more evident in coming days.
The user experience of BlackBag is dead simple. I had no trouble learning the app during a brief dog walk in the neighborhood! There are three simple choices: Settings (very straightforward), News Feeds (pick your areas of interest), and Media (lists of available videos to launch). You simply choose the areas of clinical interest for your news feed and media, and articles of potential interest populate it. I’m not convinced that “Media” is the best label for the video/multimedia assets, since the news articles are also “media” – a small quibble.
The videos I sampled came from Reuters Health/The Doctor’s Channel, and from a production/viewing point of view, were very good quality.
Screen shot for the J&J blog:
Here is a more extensive review of BlackBag, from AppShouter.
I’m going to give the crew at J&J/OMJ Pharmaceuticals very high marks for this, and here’s why: I have strongly advocated for some time that pharma companies can best serve the marketplace by being value-adding partners. One way to do this is to find ways to provide up-to-date, curated, relevant information and put it in the hands of targeted audiences. As long as this app remains an unbiased conduit of useful information, it will both meet needs and elevate the reputation of J&J in the marketplace. This is how to used networked communications/social media tools. Other pharmas: take note!
P.S. to J&J/OMJ Pharmaceuticals: The app font/design says BlackBag. The app label on the iPhone itself says BLACKBAG. The press release refers to it as BLACKBAG. Best to settle on one consistent approach to branding it…
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Linda Russell says
Interesting stuff, Steve – thanks for sharing. My doc once used her smartphone to look up possible side effects and pros/cons to a specific antibiotic she wanted to prescribe, and to double check that there wasn’t a better option. I don’t know if she was simply accessing Internet resources or if it was an app of some kind, but I was impressed with the use of technology to enhance the care she could provide me. Although I have no professional connection to the pharma/medical industry, I enjoy reading your tweets and blog for their value to me as a consumer of healthcare. Keep up the good work!
Bill Senger says
Insightful review, Steve. I’m not surprised that you’d be one of the first to recognize that apps for the iPhone (and potentially other smart phones) are opening a new horizon of professional tools. Apps are not just for games anymore.
I think it’s just a matter of time before we see the PDR, Gray’s Anatomy, and Stedman’s Medical Dictionary available as apps, or at least industry-supported web links.
Who will be the next pharma value-added partner to sponsor “Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment” as a smart-phone app? It’s really not that much different from a pharmaceutical company sponsoring a special supplement to a peer-review medical journal.