As mHealth becomes more popular and patients adopt health tracking apps and fitness measuring wearables such as Fitbits, savvy physicians know they can benefit from using mobile health apps in their practices.
The market for mHealth will reach $102.43 billion globally this year, according to estimates from Zion Market Research. The category includes everything from your calorie counter website to telemedicine apps that let you video chat and text with your doctor.
With all this innovation, how do you sift through all the patient and fitness-centered apps to find ones that may actually be helpful in a clinical setting?
Luckily, I’ve done the legwork for you. Below is a list of the best medical apps for doctors and physicians, based on reviews and number of downloads. They’re listed alphabetically within categories—reference apps, social media apps, medical journal apps, and clinical decision apps.
Medical reference apps
This is the gold standard of medical apps—it’s available for both iOS and Android, and has been downloaded millions of times. Doctors use this app to look up drug information and interactions, find other providers for consults and referrals, and quickly calculate patient measurements such as BMI.
Pricing: While the app itself and most of its content is free, access to additional information and functionality (such as lab guides, alternative medications, and disease information) requires an in-app purchase of Epocrates Essentials for $174.99 a year.
PEPID is a frequently updated clinical decision support/reference app targeted toward emergency room physicians, but it can be useful for nurses, students, residents, pharmacists, EMTs, and paramedics as well. You can earn Continuing Medical Education Credits with it while actually treating patients.
Users must log in to PEPID the first time they use it on their iPhones or Androids, but will stayed signed in after that. PEPID automatically uploads all notes to the cloud.
Symptom Checker helps you diagnose faster by suggesting possible ailments based on your patient’s symptoms, physical exam findings, and lab results. A filtered checker alerts you to possible multi-drug interactions, all on one page, and offers dosing suggestions.
PEPID offers profiles of diseases, medical conditions, and treatment options with research from the American Academy of Emergency Medicine, American College of Emergency Physicians, and the Family Physicians Inquiries Network.
The app also offers hundreds of reference videos for clinical procedures and physical examinations, and push notifications to keep you up to date on new research, drug approvals, and black box warnings.
Another heavy hitter, the UpToDate app can be used on both iOS and Android devices. Hundreds of thousands of physicians have installed this app, and for good reason. It is chock full of medical knowledge that allows it to answer clinical questions at the point of need.
Pricing: While downloading the app is free, in order to actually access the wealth of information contained within it, you or your organization need to have a subscription to the UpToDate database. This starts at $495 per year for an individual physician.
This app, by WebMD, is another great medical reference tool offered on iOS and Android. With it you can look up drug information, check the disease reference tool, catch up on medical news, and much more.
Pricing: The app is completely free, but does require you to register for a free account (which you can do through the app itself) to use it. It’s also ad-supported.
Social networking apps
Doximity is a social network for doctors, and claims that 70% of U.S. physicians are members. With both iOS and Android versions, you can find and communicate with other doctors on the network, send HIPAA-secure faxes through your phone, follow news and trends in your specialty, and browse jobs and compare salaries. It’s highly-rated and frequently updated.
Pricing: The app is free to download, but does require you to sign up for membership in the network (again, free).
6. Figure 1
You can view and share medical images with other physicians using this iOS and Androidapp. Hundreds of thousands of users send, comment on, and search through medical images in Figure 1’s visual database.
This app is perfect for physicians looking for feedback on a rare condition, or seeking to see and learn about rare or textbook cases. Additionally, the app guarantees patient privacy with automatic face-blocking and removal of identifying information.
Pricing: This app is free to download and use.
Medical journal apps
Case is a medical journal app for physicians and researchers with a recommendation engine powered by a machine learning algorithm. It has both Android and iOS versions.
Case makes it easy to read medical journal articles on your phone, and subscribe to a specialty or set of jouranls.
Case currently supports 81 medical specialties. The cool thing about Case is that it also lets you follow any of more than 100,000 keywords. For example, if you’re an oncologist, you don’t necessarily need to follow all cancer journals. Maybe you want to follow AML cancer. Or a protein, gene, or pathway related to AML. With Case you can do that.
But the even cooler part is that Case works kind of like Netflix, and surfaces journal articles based on what you enjoyed reading in the past. Its algorithm, based on Google Tensorflow, combines your behavior with external factors such as journal impact factor, number of views, shares, and likes, and time spent reading to learn what you like to read. It boasts a 20-minute average session time on desktop (5 minutes on mobile).
Pricing: It’s totally free to use.
8. Read by QxMD
Like Case, Read is an app for both iOS and Android that centralizes all your medical literature and journals. Using a magazine format, it allows you to read and download studies, journals, and articles from a host of sources including open access journals, PubMed, and papers from linked institutions.
With tens of thousands of installs, and plenty of free content, this is a no brainer for physicians looking to keep current in their specialty.
Pricing: The app is free, but some journals and PubMed may require an institutional or individual subscription or credentials.
Clinical decision apps
MDCalc began life as an EM resident’s WordPress site in 2005 and today is a highly-rated resource for practicing physicians to learn and apply evidence-based medicine.
MDCalc clinical decision tools are available as iOS and Android apps. The apps offer content written by physicians and other experts that helps providers learn and apply more than 350 decision tools in the context of specific patient care scenarios. MDCalc decision tools span more than 150 disease states across 35 specialty areas.
According to the MDCalc website, more than one million healthcare professionals use the app every month, representing more than 190 countries. In the U.S., more than half of physicians use MDCalc.
Have you use any of the above app? Please click on it to make share your experience.