Wonder what a chancre is? There's an app for that

Merck releases a new medical book and its companion iPhone app, The Merck Manual--Home Edition, a reference manual that includes timely health topics such as H1N1.

Merck has released a new medical book and its companion iPhone app, The Merck Manual--Home Edition, a reference manual that includes timely health topics such as H1N1. Merck & Co.

The Merck Manual, a New York Times best seller that has sold more than 4 million copies worldwide, is one of those medical tomes you don't typically find in a layperson's home library. It's big, heavy, not terribly exciting, and like most physicians' desk references, not the cheapest book around.

Not to be outdone by the competition, Merck & Co. released a new edition Thursday, called The Merck Manual Home Health Handbook (3rd edition). Because the book is still big, heavy, not terribly exciting, and not terribly cheap, Merck has released its contents as an iPhone app as well (home edition: $9.99; professional edition: $29.99), thereby solving its problems of size, weight, cost, and yes, even excitement, as the app has way more going on than its old-fashioned counterpart.

Users can not only reference a wide range of health issues on-the-go, but the app features a friendly interface, solid search engine, and the ability to bookmark and e-mail specific subjects.

"Our new Merck Manual--Home Edition iPhone app is perfect for today's on-the-go consumers of health information," says Robert S. Porter, editor-in-chief of The Merck Manuals. "In addition to the latest health care and medical information, we included a practical 'Emergencies and Injuries' section that is accessible from the app home screen."

Merck recently commissioned an Opinion Research Corporation survey that conveniently finds that 64 percent of consumers say they turn to physicians and medical experts as their most trusted source of health information, with their No. 1 reasoning being verifiable health credentials.

Merck could be saving legions of iPhone app addicts countless doctor visit co-pay fees. Also conveniently, the app does not count iPhone app addiction as a medical disorder.

The app was designed specifically for the iPhone and iPod Touch in collaboration with Agile Partners.

 

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