Before the smartphone industry exploded with the introduction of Apple’s iPhone, the healthcare sector’s premium software found a home on a different breed of devices: your Palms, Blackberries, and Windows Mobiles.
The playing field is totally different now. With the entry of Windows Phone 7 and later the Surface line of RT-powered tablets, Microsoft is hoping to win back some of its former glory and dominance. But progress is slow. To this day, medical apps for the healthcare professional is still hard to come by on the marketplace. Nonetheless, they are there and they are coming, albeit slowly. Here are twenty suggestions:
- Pocket Lab Values: This app includes more than 320 lab values. It includes a differential diagnoses for the lab findings as well as websites for each lab value. In addition, there is a note taking feature to add additional information.
- MedCalc3000: This app includes over 550 medical equations, clinical criterias, decision tree tools and dose/unit converters. It caters to a wide variety of topics and a wide range of health professionals. There are more specific apps included in this family, including the cardiac, pulmonary etc. Otherwise, there is a Complete edition that is available.
- Micromedex Drug Information (Tablet): An evidence-based drug information app like its counterparts on Android and iOS, this app is tailored for the Windows RT tablet. Unfortunately at this time, no phone version is available.
- MPR: Monthly Prescribing Reference provides prescription and over the counter drug information, side effects and interactions. The information here is not as in depth as most but does offer a large database of monographs and serves as a decent drug reference on your phone.
- Epocrates (Pinned): At this time, Epocrates is not available as a dedicated app. However, you can still create access to the same resources by pinning the Epocrates website (https://online.epocrates.com) onto your home screen. While it is not perfect, it is a start.
- Miniatlas Anatomy: This app contains illustrations and explanations around various body parts. It serves as an interactive reference and education tool.
- Dropbox: A cloud-based service that offers an opportunity to store algorithms, guidelines, or textbooks that you can access anywhere. Now available on your phone or tablet.
- Evernote: A note-taking tool to keep and sort out clinical pearls or to document clinical moments.
- Flashlight: For the times on call where we do not want to disturb other patients in a dark room as we make our way around.
- Translate This: This could be the only tool to help you in a situation where there is a language barrier and no one to translate.
- UpToDate (Tablet): This product really needs no introduction as it is a household name for most clinicians. Having said that, it is not a house brand across all of Windows’ products. This is currently only available on the RT tablets but plans are underway to port it to the phone in the near future.
- AHRQ ePSS (Tablet): Also available in other devices, the Electronic Preventive Services Selector was developed to assist primary clinicians identify the screening, counselling, and preventive medication services that are appropriate for their patients. This is again only available on RT tablets.
- Medscape (Pinned): Like Epocrates, this is currently not available by traditional means. However, by pinning the webpage onto your homepage, you can have a reasonable alternative that serves the same purpose, so long as you have an internet connection.
- Merck Manual: A digital, pocket version of the original reference. Disease states can be searched by section or by symptom. This package integrates expert descriptions of diagnosis and management of diseases with an A to Z symptoms guide and an award-winning drug guide.
- Diagnosaurus: A differential diagnosis generator that works around your working diagnosis or the symptoms you see.
- Pediatric Care Online: This subscription based app offers a comprehensive source for paediatric patients. It has disease and symptom references, a paediatric drug guideline and other guidelines involving management.
- Medline Plus: This is the National Institutes of Health’s web site for patients and their families and friends. Produced by the National Library of Medicine, it brings you information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues in language you can understand.
- Medical Mnemonics: This app includes over 1400 acronyms, rhymes and memory tricks on a wide variety of topics. It makes it convenient to search through with filters by discipline and system. You also have the option to add your own mnemonics to the app.
- USMLE: A flashcard bank of questions in preparation of the USMLE Step 1 including topics around anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, pathology, microbiology and behavioral sciences.
- MCAT Exam Review: A flashcard bank of questions in preparation of the MCAT.
The market is still growing for Windows phones and tablets. Hopefully as time goes on, more medical apps will become available. For now, this is a good starting place. What apps do you use?