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Top 12 Free iPhone Medical Apps For Doctors And Medical Students

1. Medscape


Medscape again tops the list as the number one free medical app for medical professionals. The amount of free content provided by Medscape is absolutely mind boggling and seems to continuously grow with each update. 7,000+ drug references, 3,500+ disease clinical references, 2,500+ clinical images and procedure videos, robust drug interaction tool checker, CME activities, and more.


Many use Medscape as a simple drug reference tool, but its true value is in the disease and condition clinical references it provides.The Medscape app is actually a mini-textbook packed with protocols for disease pathologies. It’s not as detailed as the famous Pocket Medicine Red Book — but it does more than an adequate job of providing clinical pearls from the most common to less common pathologies.


2. Micromedex


This might come as a surprise to many, but after you use this prescription medical reference app you’ll understand why it ranks so high. The overall user interface of the app is simple and quick. There is minimal clutter — another reason for such a high ranking. If you need to look up a dose or some quick reference information about a drug you can accomplish this with ease, as shown in the below pictures.


There are no prompts to register your e-mail address, no CME activities, no icon badges, no notifications, or any other distractions. The one knock on this app is it doesn’t have a robust drug interaction checker, something Medscape and Epocrates provide. On the flip side, for residents and medical students, the app does a better job than other drug reference apps when it comes to mechanism of action information and patient teaching information. Another plus is it’s available for the iPad — which is not true of Epocrates and Medscape.


3. New England Journal of Medicine


The NEJM app is clearly a must have for all health care professionals. The caveat is that when this app was released the NEJM stated it would be free for a “limited time” in the iTunes description — that was more than 5 months ago and the app still remains free, allowing you to access fantastic NEJM content customized for the mobile format. The app allows you to access the last 7 days worth of published articles, along with images of various medical conditions and videos on how to perform procedures such as LPs and chest tubes.


Where this app is essential though is with the weekly audio summaries and the selection of four full text audio reads of clinical practice articles. Note, you can access the weekly audio summaries via podcast format as well. This type of content access in mobile form is great for keeping abreast of changing clinical practices while driving back and forth to work or when having downtime in the wards.


4. Epocrates:


There is no denying Epocrates is one of the best medical reference tools in the mobile format. The free version of Epocrates, Epocrates Rx, provides great content: Drug monographs and health plan formularies, drug interaction tool, pill identifier, medical Calculator, and a new addition: Medical News and handpicked clinical articles.


5. Free Medical Calculators


This post used to consist of a popular medical app that was at one time free, MedCalc, but we did a feature article on free medical calculators, and there are a great deal of choices.


One of our favorite free medical calculators is Calculate (Medical Calculator) by QxMD.


6. Radiology 2.0: One night in the ED


This rich case learning radiology tool is based on content organized by Dr. Daniel Cornfeld, an Assistant Professor of Diagnostic Radiology at Yale University School of Medicine who specializes in Body and Emergency Medicine Imaging. The app was inspired by Dr. Cornfeld’s website, One night in the ED. The app does a fantastic job of giving case based presentations of radiology imaging, and as our writer Dr. Amit Patel pointed out in his review, it’s an application non-emergency medicine residents can find very useful. Another plus of the app is it’s on the iPad as well.


7. Skyscape: RxDrugs and OCM (Outlines in Clinical Medicine)


Skyscape has a lot of potential, and it’s done a great job of flooding the mobile market place with medical apps that are useful.


The free offerings from Skyscape are in the form of RxDrugs and OCM. RxDrugs is basically a drug reference tool, while OCM (outlines of Clinical Medicine) is somewhat like the disease pathology information offered by Medscape, except in a more difficult format to use. And there inlies the issue with these Skyscape apps — great content, but overall user interface experience is lacking. The apps don’t flow as well as the other drug and clinical disease reference apps mentioned prior.


8. Living Medical Textbooks


Living Medical Textbooks by Projects in Knowledge is an application that for some reason has gotten little to no hype in the App Store. There are actually 5 Living Medical Textbooks, ranging in topics from Diabetes to Multiple Sclerosis. The apps offer CME activities, but what makes them particularly appealing is they are “dynamic” — meaning the chapters are updated when noteworthy new medical data or research is introduced in medicine.


So basically, if you download the “Diabetes” textbook app, you can be assured that you are being kept abreast of new medical knowledge and clinical studies regarding Diabetes — the app updates and adds chapters periodically. For those not even concerned with doing CME activities this textbook app is a great resource for clinical knowledge. Along with updated clinical content, the apps contain basic knowledge of the disease pathologies they are based on.


9. Medical Radio


We’ve been a fan of ReachMD’s Medical Radio for as long as we can remember. ReachMD has an XM Satellite Radio broadcast (XM 160) station that allows medical professionals to do CME activities. Their application is great because it allows you to not only listen to the live feeds, but to listen to pertinent content by your specialty. In the example given in below pictures, Emergency Medicine specific content pulls up interesting conversations and also discussions on recent literature. Even if you’re not interested in CME activities, it’s a great way to keep up to date on new literature.


10. Neuromind


Neuromind is a production of Pieter Kubben, a Dutch neurosurgeon who is an impressive amalgam of clinician, researcher, and software engineer. His application is a simple reference tool for neurologists, neurosurgeons, and other clinicians who need reference material for neuro based pathologies.

11. Prognosis: Your Diagnosis


Prognosis: Your Diagnosis is an app from Medical Joyworks — produced out of Sri Lanka, where one of the goals of the developers of the app was to “make medicine fun”. Some of the developers themselves are medical professionals. The app is marketed as a clinical case simulation game for physicians, medical students, nurses, and paramedics. The app has been one of the most downloaded free medical apps recently released. We found the simulation cases fun to go through, however, the level of clinical content is more suited for medical students and paramedics, and is not advanced enough for residents and those in higher training.


The developers of the application are promising more future cases, and we can only assume the degree of complexity will increase in the future. In the attached pictures we go through a simulation for the chief complaint – “Jaw Pain”. Our full review contains the whole simulation.

12. Harvard’s Public Health News App


The Harvard School of Public Health News app is surprisingly functional and useful. We say surprisingly because Harvard isn’t the first school to make an application to push their content, but they stand out amongst their peers for the simplicity, overall user interface, and solid functionality delivered by the application.


The app features news articles from the School of Public Health — however, the articles link to the school website, and it would be nice if they were native or customized for the app. But the true functionality comes from the delivery of audio and video content. Some of the best minds in Public Health are at Harvard and the multimedia content is rich with useful knowledge.

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