New England Journal of Medicine releases an iPhone app – free access to content for a limited time only! [App Review]

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) is to the medical world what the Wall Street Journal is to the business world. The Journal is often considered the “standard”, and they have now released an iPhone app for the content on their website and journal.  The app is called “NEJM This Week”, is free to download, and for a limited time you can access all the content for free – so download it as soon as you get a chance.

On initial impressions, this app provides a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips – but we did have some issues with the app that will be discussed later.

With the New England Journal of Medicine App you can access four main types of content: recent articles, images, audio, and video.  The audio provided is in the form of weekly literature summaries, along with audio versions of four full Clinical Practice articles.  For the clinical practice articles, you are presented a case and and then walked through the guidelines and steps required.

There are five “how to” NEJM videos: LP, chest tube insertion, A-line insertion, performing a paracentesis, and then BP measurement. Most medical professionals have seen these videos already at some point in their training.  They are in the same old school quality – but still useful.



Now for the main gripes: Why isn’t this on the iPad as well?! That’s where reading medical literature and viewing pictures is a great experience – on the big screen! The iPhone is a great medium for the content, but with popularity of the iPad, one would assume the NEJM would have come out with an iPad version of the app as well.

Our second issue, from the description of the app on iTunes and the name, only content that is 7 days old will be available through the app. We’re hoping this is expanded later, but it’s doubtful from the name of the app. It would be great to have the ability to access the archives of the New England Journal of Medicine using this app – especially since you have access to the archives on the desktop experience.



Another question we have is the ability to use a proxy server to access the app.  Obviously, the ability to access content for free is only being offered for a limited time, and soon there will be a login screen on the app – but what about those of us who access the NEJM off site through our academic affiliations? It seems as if we’d be left hanging.  Hopefully there is a workaround around this issue.



Overall, the NEJM iphone app is nicely done, but without an iPad version and full access to the archives, it leaves us wanting more. We’re also hoping to see more medical journals take the leap and make applications for the iPhone, Android, and Palm platforms. As more medical professionals get smart phones, providing another medium to access literature seems only nature.

NEJM iTunes Link

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Iltifat Husain, MD

Founder, Editor-in-Chief of Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Director of Mobile App curriculum at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. He is also the founder of iPrescribeApps, a platform for prescribing apps to patients. Dr. Husain has given lectures on digital medicine globally. He went to North Carolina State University for undergrad and went to medical school at Wake Forest School of Medicine.

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9 Responses to New England Journal of Medicine releases an iPhone app – free access to content for a limited time only! [App Review]

  1. Kmnayeem July 1, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    Thanks to Dr. Husain. His great in depth analysis of I-Applications and NEJM downloads were highly useful updates for me and my wife. We really enjoyed watching the videos of arterial line placements, and other emergency procedures after downloading the apps. I wish we can use it for a longer time, and also on i-pads. These videos are of great use in emergent issues of managing cancer patients. Once again our team is thankful to Dr. Hussain to provide these updates!

    Khazi Nayeemuddin and UT MD Anderson Cancer Center.

    • Iltifat Husain July 1, 2010 at 9:03 pm #

      Thanks for the compliment!

  2. Forsubscribtions July 22, 2010 at 11:55 pm #

    Well, yes a free full IOS version of NEJM would be good but why would they do that when the electronic version on-line costs a couple of hundred a year?

    Where I work (and I’m sure where most work) I can get all the journals we subscribe to via the hospital library proxy server, using 3g or wifi with the browser on the device.

    I would pay for a full iPad version if I couldn’t use the work one.

  3. Kys1982 April 4, 2011 at 6:34 am #

    An Android app would be appreciated

  4. Lionel September 26, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    +1 for Android app !

  5. Peter Altorjai January 3, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

    One more vote for ANDROID

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