by Moss Stern
Here at MDLinx, we are excited by the possibilities afforded by mobile applications in healthcare. At their best, they enable clinicians to look up information more quickly and conveniently, perform calculations more easily, record data on the fly, and thus save precious time. Some also challenge clinicians’ clinical knowledge and skills, helping them become better practitioners. It is our privilege to review some of the latest and most useful medical apps, and recommend those that we think clinicians will find most helpful.
Here, we’ve compiled a list of our 20 favorite medical apps that have the broadest appeal. We hope you enjoy them!
1. Epocrates Clinical Reference
Easy to navigate and quick to use, Epocrates may just be the gold standard every medical app should be measured against. A veritable “Swiss army knife” of indispensable tools, it offers drug information, a provider directory, calculators, and a myriad of tables organized by medical specialty. Drug information includes formulary coverage, alternative drugs, drug interactions, dosages, contraindications, pharmacology, safety information, and pill ID. DocAlert messages provide clinical alerts, government safety alerts, medically relevant tips on practice management, and guideline updates. A must-have.
This app is a quick and efficient way to access medical information from Medscape.com. It allows you to read the latest news across 30+ medical specialties; look up adult and pediatric drug dosing information in seconds; access 129 medical calculators covering formulas, scales, and classifications; and complete accredited CME/CE courses for professional development – all in one place.
Keeping up with your reading is a major challenge. So many articles, so little time! Read by QXMD allows you to keep up with your topics of interest in one app. Simply enter your specialty, areas of interest, and preferred medical and scientific journals, and it grabs the content relevant to those interests and sources and enables you to read it all in one place — with a very clean, intuitive user interface. Read succeeds admirably in consolidating the key medical news that you need. It is highly recommended.
Drugs.com Medication Guide lets you look up FDA monographs for any drug name; look up drugs by condition or class; search a database of side effects to see what drugs can cause them; check interactions; obtain pregnancy and breastfeeding safety information; look up dosages; and even search a database of symptoms. Its drug monographs include links to recent clinical trial results, FDA alerts, and other relevant news. It also lets you record what drugs you are taking and contains a pill identifier tool.
5. Diagnose Clinical Reference
Determine the statistical probability, based on the available evidence, that a given patient has a particular ailment. You simply check whether they are positive or negative for a list of examination criteria and diagnostic tests, and it hands you a probability percentage at the end. The interface is simple and functional, and assuming the data are reliable, in theory this app should lead you to a higher degree of diagnostic certainty. The range of conditions is very extensive, from childhood otitis media and influenza to blunt intra-abdominal trauma, ectopic pregnancy, ACL knee injury, and malaria.
Distinctly easy to use, ICD 10 On the Go Medical Codes lets you look up diagnostic codes in seconds. You can star frequently-used diagnoses as "favorites" so as to find those codes even more rapidly. And you can email any code or print it out. It's hard to imagine a better app for quick ICD-10 lookup than this one. It is highly recommended.
7. LactMed Clinical Reference
To the extent that women and their doctors have reported on their experiences with drugs and breastfeeding, or that drug levels in maternal milk have been tested, or that anything else is known about various drugs' lactation safety, those data have made their way into the National Library of Medicine's Toxicology Data Network database, and thus into LactMed – probably the most complete and current mobile source of information on drugs' safety for breastfeeding mothers.
Wilderness excursions can lead you to places of exotic beauty...and sometimes serious danger. Whether you are kayaking, hiking, skiing, or otherwise enjoying the great outdoors, it’s best to be prepared for trouble. The Wilderness First Aid App is a good portable source on everything from altitude illness to frostbite, diabetic emergencies, head trauma, bites and stings, trauma, wound care, and much more. It could be a life saver for people with all levels of medical training. Hopefully you’ll never need to use it, but if you do, you’ll be glad to have it on your phone.
Blast injuries are unfortunately among the problems that all healthcare providers must be prepared to face. This app from the CDC equips you to understand and prepare for blast injuries and explosive events, and assess and treat explosive injuries to the head and torso, musculoskeletal trauma, and other blast-related conditions. CDC Blast Injury also works when Wi-Fi is unavailable...so even if your hospital or trauma center has lost power, you can still look up the answers you need.
This colorful app collects data from hospitals in your geographical region, to make you aware of how many cases of a given infectious agent ("bugs") have been reported within a particular time frame, and summarizes the various drugs you can use to treat these infections.
This app from the CDC provides at-a-glance access to recommended vaccination schedules for children, adolescents, and adults. You can also look up specific indications for different patient populations (pregnancy, immunocompromising conditions, HIV infection, heart disease, etc.), as well as contraindications for individual immunizations. CDC Vaccine Schedules is recommended to all healthcare providers who are responsible for keeping patients' immunizations up to date.
A surprisingly practical and well-organized collection of information that would be valuable to medical students and residents as well as nurses and physician assistants. Six sections cover H&P, Sounds, Lab Values, Pediatrics, Obstetrics, and Notes & Orders. Each section uses a series of tabs to efficiently convey a large amount of important clinical data. A succinct and accessible design makes it easy to prepare for rounds or look up quick answers in the clinical setting.
This app is a terrific tool for learning normal cross-sectional CT anatomy in the transverse plane. You can move a slider up and down to see all the structures visible within a particular cross-sectional view. By double-tapping on any area you can enlarge it, and if you tap on a structure, an identifying label appears – often accompanied by additional anatomy notes. X-Anatomy basically puts a powerful interactive CT simulation on your mobile device so you can study it at will. It is highly recommended to all medical professionals who need a strong working familiarity with cross-sectional anatomy.
This is a fully interactive, 3-dimensional anatomical model for learning and reference purposes. You can view any body system, rotate it in any direction, zoom in and out, hide and reveal structures as desired, and tap on individual structures to have them identified and explained. Given the decreased time and resources being devoted to cadaver dissection today, medical students need resources of this quality to supplement their study. Despite the glaring omission of the male and female reproductive systems, Essential Anatomy 3 is nonetheless a fascinating and enjoyable learning tool.
This app gives you a very detailed 3-D model of the human skeleton, with the ability to rotate every structure in any direction, zoom in to specific skeletal regions, view cross sections of certain structures, view/hide pins identifying specific features (and add your own), add and remove layers, locate structures based on an alphabetical index, and take quizzes. You can also draw on structures and write comments with your fingertip. This opens up great possibilities for instruction and patient education.
Clinical Sense tests your clinical decision making when faced with a variety of clinical situations. While each scenario goes by quickly, it still confronts you with several decisions that have significant implications for the care of the hypothetical patient. It's a good way to test your familiarity with a wide range of clinical practice guidelines having to do with conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, suspected breast cancer, and obstetrical emergencies. When you make a wrong decision, the scenarios end in various calamitous ways, and you are presented with an explanation of what you did incorrectly as well as references to standard sources in the literature.
Test your clinical decision-making skills in a variety of patient simulations. In each case, you are presented with data on a patient’s H&P, then asked to formulate possible diagnoses, choose tests, initiate interventions, and make decisions concerning patient disposition. At the end, you receive feedback on your decisions as well as your correct, neutral, and incorrect actions. This culminates in a numerical score, which you can use to compete with your friends.
A fun and challenging way to test your readiness for clinical rounds! Quick case simulations challenge you to interpret clinical information and make the right decisions. You get only 12 seconds to answer each question, and then receive immediate feedback on which answer was correct and why. At the end, you receive a percentage score based on how many questions you answered correctly. 12 seconds isn’t a lot of time to respond, but that is what makes Ward Round both entertaining and effective...because to get good scores, you really need to have the answers top-of-mind!
This is a networking tool that has the potential to transform healthcare. It gives you a ready-made platform for practicing telemedicine, providing patients across geographies with paid video consultations at your own convenience, collaborating with fellow practitioners, and more. All physicians who have the time, passion, and energy to help more patients should consider joining; and the iOS and Android apps make it easy to interact with HealthTap on your mobile device.
This social media app lets you see how highly your fellow users have rated various treatments on a five-star scale, add treatments and ratings of your own, and participate in discussions. It’s essentially a way of crowdsourcing clinical consults with your peers. If this app catches on, it could be a valuable source for reaching significant clinical consensus on various treatment options. And like other social media platforms, SharePractice allows you to invite your colleagues so you can contribute to its expansion.