BOSTON—Tired of carrying around stacks of quick reference guides, charts, and reminders? So was Esther K. Choo, MD, MPH, associate professor in Department of Emergency Medicine at the Alpert Medical School/Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, before she ditched it all for a phone and a batch of applications.
“When I was an intern, my white coat weighed 10 pounds! With the apps, I just carry my stethoscope, a pen and my phone,” she said.
Among the thousands of available medical apps, Dr. Choo recommended a dozen or so for the busy emergency medical physician. Her criteria included affordability, compatibility with both Android and Apple phones, ease of use, and compelling features.
“These are apps I use daily or at least weekly in my clinical practice,” she said. She emphasized that she has no connection to any of the companies that sell the apps she discussed.
One of her favorites is Micromedex, a comprehensive drug database.
“It’s so integral to my practice,” Dr. Choo said. “If there is one app that is indispensable to me, it’s Micromedex.” The app is remarkably reliable and features adult and pediatric dosing. She said she likes that the content is frequently uploaded. At $2.99 per year, it’s affordable and is compatible with both Apple and Android phones.
Dr. Choo said PressorDex, from the Emergency Medicine Residents’ Association, is a bit more complicated to use, but is helpful for managing the care of critical patients. She can log in a patient, add his or her height, weight and medications, and the application automatically calculates dosages. She said it’s helpful with exceptionally sick patients she is seeing over the course of a shift. The price is $16.99. It’s compatible with both Apple and Android phones, but has a few bugs that could be addressed if the app were updated more often.
VisualDx is a comprehensive database of physical findings, especially rashes, that was developed by a dermatologist. It includes diagnostic pearls, an extensive image library and a feature called the Differential Builder. A continuing medical education (CME) component allows the user to review common and uncommon rashes and even play a game against others. “This is very addictive,” Dr. Choo said. At $240 per year, she admits that the price could be prohibitive, but it fills a special niche. “We all fear the rash,” she said.
Dr. Choo said that everyone should have a pediatric app. She recommends Pedi STAT. She notes that the app designers recognize the stressfulness of pediatric emergencies and offer step-by-step instructions, plus specific details such as endotracheal tube and laryngoscope size recommendations. “It’s designed for the situations in which you really need it—you can find info in just a few clicks,” she said. At $2.99 the app is inexpensive too.