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Top 10 Free iPhone Medical Apps for Health care Professionals

Editors note: We now have an updated “Top 20 Free iPhone Medical Apps List”. It can be found at this link.

If you’re a physician, medical student, or in any other health care related field, trying to find the best free medical apps for the iPhone is a hassle.  Apps such as “Dream Meanings”, “Relax Ocean waves”, and “Stool Scanner Lite” dominate the Top Free Medical Apps list in the App Store.

Our top 10 iPhone medical apps list contains no such app, and this isn’t a re-hash of the top downloaded free medical apps either.  Rather, this list contains the top 10 free iPhone medical apps health care professionals and students can actually use on a day to day basis.

If you want free apps, make sure to “Like” us on our Facebook fan page and follow us on Twitter. We give out tons of free medical apps on our Facebook wall and our Twitter feed – you can find interesting commentary on these platforms and it’s where we interact with our readers frequently as well: ;

1) Medscape

We mentioned this app when it was released in the summer of 2009.  At the time I doubt many thought it would ever eclipse Epocrates in the top free medical apps section of the App Store, but with significant recent updates it’s accomplished this feat.
medscape 1 medscape 2
This app always had a great drug reference section, with over 6,000 generic, brand, and OTC drugs, along with a drug interaction checker.  But with recent updates, Medscape now has a Diseases and Conditions section, along with a Clinical Procedures section.  These added sections aren’t just fluff, they actually contain concise and useful information, with videos and pictures to boot.  We plan on doing a full review in the near future.

Links: iMedicalApps Review, Website, iTunes
Cost: Free



iMedicalApps periodically features contributed articles from clinicians, researchers, and industry leaders with interesting perspectives to share.

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39 Responses to Top 10 Free iPhone Medical Apps for Health care Professionals

  1. jsmith February 15, 2010 at 4:38 pm #

    I didn’t know medscape had added all those extra features. I wonder if epocrates will offer some more features now in their free version? I too am surprised Medscape doesn’t have a medical calculator! The interview piece with iRadiology professor was interesting, can’t believe its free.

  2. karis February 15, 2010 at 5:09 pm #

    jsmith, don’t forget, medscape doesn’t have the pill ID feature epocrates does……although, i have never really used that function with patients before.

  3. Iltifat Husain February 16, 2010 at 1:23 am #

    jSmith – Yes, I too was pleasantly surprised with how great iRadiology is, and the fact that its free is amazing. Not sure if Epocrates will offer more feature for free, their main angle are their premium services, and even with the additions Medscape has made, the premium versions of epocrates still contain significantly more info.

    Karis- The pill ID feature is a lot of fun, but you’re right, I haven’t used it that much in clinic. But on those rare occasions I have, I’ve always gotten a “wow”.

  4. bradrichards March 16, 2010 at 5:20 am #

    would you recommend Medscape over Epocrates? Is Medscape’s “free” version more attractive than Epocrate’s premium products? Curious to know your thoughts and whether Epocrates will have to give away more functionality to stay competitive.

    • SMisra March 20, 2010 at 11:32 am #

      Thats a great question and we actually have a head-to-head review in the works. Check back soon!

    • Iltifat Husain March 30, 2010 at 11:04 pm #


      Great, great comment. Its going to be interesting to see how this plays out. Initially Epocrates was dominating the “free medical app” list, in terms of downloads on the App Store. Recently, with all the functionality being offered by Medscape, it makes sense they took over the top download slot for the “free medical apps” category. I don’t know if its necessary for Epocrates to offer more functionality though – their bread and butter are their premium versions of their medical app, whereas Medscape is really just concerned with getting more medical professionals to use their products – necessitating them to offer more functionality. I’m going to look into the Medscape app in more detail though – some of the new features they are offering are really in a different league than their competitors.

      Notice how medscape still isn’t on Android though, unfortunately. Further showing how far back the App Market for Android is in terms of medical software in relation to the Apple App Store….

  5. middsurg March 17, 2010 at 4:52 am #

    Can anyone tell me if these apps will load on an i touch?

    • Iltifat Husain March 30, 2010 at 10:56 pm #


      They apps will run on the iPod Touch. We touched (no pun intended) on this in another one of our posts:


  6. Melissa April 3, 2010 at 5:34 am #

    ePocrates formularies knocks all others out the running. Saves so much time by avoiding formulary change requests, prior authorizations, etc.
    Also, the best app I’ve found lately is AHRQ ePSS. It is amazingly useful, has all UPSTF guidelines and clinical rationale at your fingertips. Can enter patient characteristics and get all screeing guidelines for that patient.

    • Iltifat Husain April 3, 2010 at 6:29 am #

      Melissa –

      I was JUST about to mention the AHRQ ePSS app later this week! Its a great free app, and I wish I would have found it before I made this top 10 list, otherwise it definitely would have been up there. The USPTF guidelines are great to have on hand, and the app does a great job of breaking down the guidelines by the categories.

  7. paulestorey April 21, 2010 at 8:28 pm #

    Re number 9. Naming conventions for medical eponyms no longer use the possessive “s” so it is Bell Palsy NOT Bell’s Palsy. US has signed on with SNOMED CT as the standardised nomenclature, and as it is a translatable nomenclature the ‘s does not work and builds confusion. It is also considered dangerous in a quality medicine sense, bad luck if your name is Altzheimer and some one talks about your disease and it happens to be cancer!

  8. Iltifat Husain June 18, 2010 at 2:55 pm #

    Added to this list should be the New England Journal of Medicine iPhone app – just released. The app is free to download, and for a limited time all the content is free to access! Download it asap, eventually they will require a login though…


  9. Simon22 June 19, 2010 at 5:30 pm #

    Can you recommend good apps for ophthalmologists?

  10. Frank July 18, 2010 at 4:10 pm #

    Thanks for the post.

    Just wanted to let you know that Radiopaedia has a total of 6 volumes currently available, each with a free version.

    We are also working on bringing each one in HD to the iPad… and Android platform.

    Cheers, Frank

    Frank Gaillard Editor

  11. Alexander David092 July 19, 2010 at 2:34 am #

    Hi!!! I am surprised that Skyscape is not featured in this list. I have been using the skyscape med apps on my iphone and over the time they have proved very useful and resourceful.

    • Iltifat Husain September 2, 2010 at 6:43 pm #

      Good point Alexander – At the time of this post there was some disagreement amongst the team about adding Skyscape. Some of us are fans, while some are not. The overall consensus was that Epocrates and Medscape offer better free content, and that adding Skyscape would just be replicating the type of content these apps offer – and taking another spot in the top 10 list. That said, Skyscape has made some significant upgrades, and the fact that it’s formatted for the iPad as well will most likely make it in our next top 0 list.

      • Pamela June 6, 2013 at 8:52 pm #

        Does anyone find it useful to have both the epocrates and medscape apps? or does it just clutter the playing field.

  12. Rusubena July 27, 2010 at 10:04 am #

    I’m looking to buy an Ipod Touch for med apps mainly as my old Palm can no longer access Epocrates. Do you recommend buying the 8GB or more expensive 32 GB one?

    • Iltifat Husain September 2, 2010 at 6:44 pm #

      Depends Rusubena – do you have a lot of reference apps you’ll be purchasing? If you need anatomy apps, or multiple reference apps and textbooks, you could consider the 32 gb. But if you mainly just need Epocrates, and a few small reference apps, then you should be fine with the 8gb

  13. Hannah August 8, 2010 at 6:57 am #

    Hospitals in Quebec don’t have wifi to run apps on my iPod touch, so wondering which apps have offline functionality? Thanks!

    • Iltifat Husain August 8, 2010 at 8:40 am #

      you should try all of these out since they are free. almost all can run
      offline. i’m surprised to hear hospitals in Quebec don’t have wifi. is that
      true for even the bigger hospitals?

      • Hannah August 11, 2010 at 8:33 am #

        So far the 3 major teaching hospitals in Montreal which I have been to don’t have Wifi, maybe some of the others with more money might have, will see. Some applications like Merck Manual claim to be free on iStore but then you need to register and it’s complicated once you try and use the app. Epocrates does seem to work offline, hopefully the others reviewed here do too. Thanks! Hannah

  14. RianJepson August 17, 2010 at 2:58 pm #

    It’s just amazing how the iPhone can be used in health care as well. Is there any field that the iPhone hasn’t found a good app?

  15. Thejevon August 23, 2010 at 3:22 pm #

    I was going to Download Epocrates, but the reviews of the current version on itunes all seem to be horrible, siting failure to open, difficulty logging in and continuous update requests/demands. If I already have Medscape, is it still worth getting Epocrates? How quickly do they tend to update the app to improve the problems?

    • Iltifat Husain September 2, 2010 at 6:45 pm #

      They usually update it pretty frequently. I’m surprised to hear the issues you’re having though? Their customer service is pretty responsive though – so I would encourage you to message them directly

  16. Arthur Williams, MD November 4, 2010 at 5:10 am #

    Our practice is using Concentrica for secure clinical communication.

    My partner and I head two hospitalists groups in the Boston area, one acute care, the other a rehab hospital. For years our handoff communications went through paper mail or fax. We were very diligent about communication. Even so, specialist from acute care settings and primary care physicians in the community complained that our group was like a black box – that they were not getting good communication about the care we were providing. The hospital even setup a physician portal so that any on-staff doctor could log in remotely and access their patient’s information. But this “pull” model never caught on, as most doctors expect data to be “pushed” out to them.

    One of our new physicians suggested we look at Concentrica, which is an online network for secure clinical communication. This is free to physicians to communicate with each other. The national directory of physicians meant that we could quickly send to any physician, without having to know their fax or email. Like an online email system, recipients can reply and forward messages, so now we could get immediate feedback from colleagues in other locations, and in important cases, have a real dialog about patient care. The “Group Discussions” feature allows the specialist in town, the hospitalist, and the PCP to all join in an online dialog about one patient.

    The application works well on our smartphones.

    When our group wanted to send documents on our behalf, we upgraded to the subscription version, which cost less than paying someone in our office to fax the documents. There is an audit trail so we can see who received their messages. One feature we really liked was that if the message was not accessed online it was faxed, so we knew our clinical work was getting there.

    For our group it made it easy to communicate with other physicians, to get our documents out, gave a way for others to respond, and was cost effective.

    Arthur Williams, MD

    • drobertjordan, M.D. August 22, 2011 at 11:21 am #

      That sounds crazy awesome good, I cannot wait to try it out, thanks for the extensive post.

  17. Jon February 12, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

    Will there be an imuscle version for android coming out in the future? This is a geeat tol for physical therapists

  18. Jon February 12, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

    We need more physical therapy related apps

  19. stacia May 13, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

    The nicest point for me is that I do not need to renew medscape whereas with epocrates it needs renewal yearly…..medscape is great for drug interactions checker…..

  20. akkk May 21, 2012 at 12:22 am #

    Sucks that everyone can’t access them.

  21. akkk May 21, 2012 at 12:23 am #

    And I’m a doctor.

  22. kevin oconner, MD May 21, 2012 at 4:46 pm #


  23. anusha August 13, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    Can you suggest smart phone friendly medical apps for ophthalmologists?

  24. alisa allen October 5, 2013 at 11:47 am #

    I need a drug interraction app. I want to enter all my pts meds to see if any are interracting and causing any ill effects. This includes all OTC meds. Is there such an application?

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