Top 10 Free iPhone Medical Apps for Health care Professionals

2) Epocrates

The free version of Medscape might be ranked higher on our list, and in the App Store, but I guarantee almost every medical professional still has at least the free version of Epocrates.  My peers and I often joke about how Epocrates is the “most trusted name in Medicine” – because it’s the one app med schools and medical institutions aren’t afraid of pushing.  We recently did a full review of Epocrates.
epocrates 1 epocrates 2
The free version, called Epocrates Rx, includes: Drug interactions, Pill Identifier, Drug Info, and Medical Calculator. Surprisingly, Medscape doesn’t have a medical calculator, you would think this added functionality would be easy to do.  In our review of Epocrates, we go over all the different versions in details, along with pricing – we were definitely impressed.

Links: iMedicalApps Review, Website, iTunes
Cost: Free

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Discussion ( 36 comments ) Post a Comment
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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”.

    Iltifat Husain iMedicalApps Editor
  • 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.

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

      SMisra iMedicalApps Editor
    • Bradrichards-

      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….

      Iltifat Husain iMedicalApps Editor
  • Can anyone tell me if these apps will load on an i touch?

  • 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.

    • 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.

      Iltifat Husain iMedicalApps Editor
  • 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!

  • 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…


    Iltifat Husain iMedicalApps Editor
  • Can you recommend good apps for ophthalmologists?

  • 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

  • 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.

    Alexander David092
    • 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.

      Iltifat Husain iMedicalApps Editor
  • 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?

    • 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

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

    • 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?

      Iltifat Husain iMedicalApps Editor
      • 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

  • 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?

  • 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?

    • 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

      Iltifat Husain iMedicalApps Editor
  • 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

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

  • We need more physical therapy related apps

  • 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…..

  • Sucks that everyone can’t access them.

  • And I’m a doctor.

  • ?

    kevin oconner, MD
  • Can you suggest smart phone friendly medical apps for ophthalmologists?

  • 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?

    alisa allen Subscriber

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