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According to a recent study, Epocrates, Inc. – an athenahealth, Inc. (ATHN - Analyst Report) subsidiary – leads the digital health market in terms of medical reference application reach on smartphones, for the fifth consecutive year. However, following the announcement, shares of athenahealth fell nearly 3.3% to close at $124.71 yesterday.

Epocrates is a provider of point-of-care digital solutions in the healthcare industry. It was acquired by athenahealth in Mar, 2013. The combined entity benefits from the unification of Epocrates’ mobile expertise, and knowledge and data from athenahealth’s cloud-based network.

Manhattan Research’s “2014 Taking the Pulse U.S. Study” releases reports on technology adoption and behavioral trends among U.S. physicians. The study takes into account the opinion of more than 3,000 physicians.

Per the key findings of the study, Epocrates is the number one medical reference application on smartphone and tablet devices among U.S. physician app users.  

The study further revealed that Epocrates users are more likely to use digital resources on their smartphones for professional purposes than the average U.S. physician. 62% of Epocrates users access clinical content through smartphones in between patient consultations while 39% do the same while attending to patients.

The study also established that Epocrates physicians are frequent users, evidenced by the statistics which reveals that nearly one-third of the physicians launch the Epocrates app on their smartphones at least thrice a day.

While drug references remain one of the top digital resources used by physicians on a smartphone, the study holds that Epocrates users are almost twice as likely as non-Epocrates users to access both drug reference databases and clinical references.

Epocrates aims to provide heath care professionals state-of-the-art service by helping them take efficient and confident decisions while administering patient care. With continued innovation, it seeks to add more value to providers and ultimately patients.

Going forward, athenahealth intends to advance Epocrates to the next stage of mHeath care coordination and network connectivity, while retaining focus on the core app.

Zacks Rank

Currently, athenahealth carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked medical product stocks worth considering are Cardica Inc. (CRDC - Snapshot Report), Eagle Pharmaceuticals Inc. (EGRX - Snapshot Report) and NeuroMetrix Inc. (NURO). All these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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