by: Guido Giunti
Today we’ll take a look at “Quick LabRef” by Nika Informatics, a reference app that certainly comes in handy whenever doubts appear on whether we should order anti-HBs, HBsAg, or even the normal value of Hemoglobin.
Upon starting up the app its loading screen appears and shortly we are presented its main screen grouping together lab results according to whether we are looking for “Blood Tests”, “Non-blood Tests”, “Bacteriology | Microbiology”, “Toxicology”, “Genetics”, “Normal/Patho- Physiology” or “Miscellaneous”.
Using this simple grouping technique the app manages to sort references in a way that makes sense and the information can be easily accessed in times of need.
When we press Android’s Menu button we get the option to find out more about the app’s version and its developer’s Disclaimer on it; oddly, this is a “must” feature that most developers often neglect to include in their software.
Now that we’ve covered the basic user interface let’s talk about how the app holds its ground regarding contents. On this front “Quick LabRef” does exceedingly well; there are dozens of lab tests, values, and information on each of them is provided which is amazing for such a small app.
There is information on standard tests like Complete Blood Count (CBC), Amniotic Fluids, and Coagulation Studies but also on more less common studies like Tuberculin skin tests and Bacterial Cultures for most types of pathogens.
Let’s say it’s 3 in the morning and a patient with high fever, stiff neck, and severe headache walks in. After checking for signs and ruling out intracranial hypertension and focal neurological deficits you’re probably thinking this screams Meningitis so you proceed to do a spinal tap and send it to the lab.
Now since it is the wee hours of the night the lab technician forgot to print the reference values, no need to panic “Quick LabRef” is here. The app gives you the references you need as well as other information you might find useful such as pathogens and tests we should be thinking of based on our results.
We can replay this scenario on overdose cases, acid base disorders, and many other usual and unusual situations. “Quick LabRef” really shines on the battery of information you get at just the touch of your fingertips.
As you can probably gather from the above paragraphs I was truly impressed with this app’s cover-all-tests approach, they even have a physical exam template to help you fill out your patient’s history. This is quite remarkable though seeing as this is Nika Informatics’ second app and the over 1,200 downloads of “Quick LabRef” are certainly justified.
The volume of information is great and it certainly bodes well for “Quick LabRef” since you are bound to find what you are looking for in the myriad of tests available. however the sheer amount of tests do work against you when you are in a hurry to get the data you need. A “Search” feature should definitely be added to future versions of the app otherwise one might get buried among all those tests and just abandon the app favoring a Google search instead.
One thing that struck me as odd is that even though we get a Disclaimer from the developer about how one should not use this app as replacement of medical attention and so on it does not mention the source of the values we are presented. This might just be nitpicking but I often like to know where numbers comes from, whether from a particular laboratory, a textbook, or a bundle of research papers.
- Lots of studies
- Simple user interface
- Excellent for students
- Good for everyday use
- Needs search feature
- No references given for lab values
- “Quick LabRef” is a great app to have installed on your trusty Android phone
- It will definitively be of use in your practice whether you are just starting up as a student or have worked as a physician for several years.