Top 10 Primary Care Apps

December 11, 2014

Drugs, diseases, guidelines, databases-all at the touch of an app. Here: a selection of smartphone/tablet applications that may make your clinical practice a little easier this coming year.

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Applications for smartphones and tablets are changing the way doctors and patients approach health care. Many are designed specifically for physicians and range from databases about drugs and diseases to calculators and sophisticated monitors that read blood pressure, glucose levels, or asthma symptoms. The slides that follow comprise my personal list of the 10 best medical apps for primary care physicians, in no particular order. The apps listed do not reflect the opinions of my employer. (Aileen McCrillis, MS, MPH is the research librarian at NYU Health Sciences Library in New York.)

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Designed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, this app helps primary care clinicians find preventive services appropriate for their patients. AHRQ  ePSS includes all current, evidence-based recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) with a user-friendly interface.

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AHRQ ePSS is FREE to download.

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This app includes high-quality information and tools to support clinical decision-making. Key features include guidelines, drug prescribing and safety information, interaction check, health insurance formularies, calculators, and more.

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Epocrates is FREE. Subscription is required for access to premium content.

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DocPhin helps clinicians stay current while combating information overload. Users can create a customized reading list based on their favorite medical journals and news media sources. Add your institutional login information to access journals subscribed to by your institution. DocPhin also provides access to curated collections of landmark articles by specialty.

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DocPhin is FREE to download. Subscription is required to access premium features.

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UpToDate provides evidence-based clinical decision support and includes graded recommendations and patient education materials.  Subscribers can also earn CME/CE/CPD credits by answering clinical questions using UpToDate.

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UpToDate is FREE to download. Subscription is required to access full content.

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Micromedex is a simple, accurate, and easy-to-use drug reference tool. Users can search by drug name or class and receive information on adverse effects, interactions, contraindications, administration, and dosing.

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Micromedex costs $2.99 annually or is FREE with an Internet-based subscription.

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Medscape is useful both as a reference tool and as a source of medical news. The information provided is well-referenced with clear authorship and conflicts of interest are disclosed. The reference lists attached to the guidelines are linked to the MEDLINE abstract, and ultimately, the online article. The reference section of Medscape can be viewable offline and the news section of the app is continually updated.

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Medscape is FREE and is available for Android, iPhone/iPad, Kindle Fire.

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Calculate by QxMD is just one of many medical calculator apps out there, but is has made this list because it is a complete source of calculations and formulas by medical specialty. The app displays the specific support tool options. After answering a series of questions, the user receives a predictive summary containing the results of the calculation.

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Calculate by QxMD is FREE.

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The BioDigital Human is a virtual 3D body that brings to life thousands of medically accurate anatomy objects and health conditions in an interactive web-based platform. The visualizations included in this app can be used to communicate difficult health concepts to patients and provide them with a deeper understanding of their health concerns.

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 BioDigital Human is FREE. Subscription is required to access premium content.

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There are several PubMed apps out there, but PubMed on Tap is included on this list because of its simple design and solid features. Users can search PubMed and PubMed Central and create a personal library of references. References can be organized by groups (static and smart) and emailed from your device. PubMed on Tap allows users to input their institution’s unique proxy URL for enhanced access to online articles and PDFs.

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The cost to download PubMed on Tap is $2.99.

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uCentral provides access to several key medical references, such as 5-Minute Clinical Consult, Johns Hopkins Guides, Washington Manual of Medical Therapeutics, McGraw-Hill’s Diagnosaurus, as well as the journal literature available through MEDLINE. Users can search across several medical references simultaneously, create personalized favorites, and access full-text articles available through their institution.

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uCentral is Free to download. Institutional is subscription required to access premium content.

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Do you have experience with/opinions on any of these? Do you have others you would recommend to your primary care colleagues? Let us know in the comment space below so we can compile a "Reader's Favorites" list for you.