Cochrane Library, a meta-analyses app at the tip of your metacarpals

Purpose of App Review

To review the usability and navigability of The Cochrane Library iPad edition app.

Introduction

Evidence-based medicine is an important part of modern medical care.

We provide treatments and manage diseases according to the best evidence available.

Sometimes we need help synthesizing all of the data from multiple trials together–enter the Cochrane Collaboration and the Cochrane Library.

The Cochrane Collaboration is a non-profit organization dedicated to organizing medical research in a systematic way in order to improve evidence-based medicine. The Cochrane Library provides the publishing forum for the collaboration.

User Interface

The Cochrane Library iPad edition lives in the iPad Newsstand and functions like other journal apps.

On opening the app, you have the choice to look at the available Cochrane Library issues or to look at My Library.  If there is a new issue available, the app will prompt you to download it.

2013-01-18 19.55.10

To get to a particular issue, choose View and you will be taken to the cover page of the issue. From there, you can use sideswipes to move between the pages of the articles as well as between individual articles.

2013-01-18 20.18.38

If sideswiping is too slow, you can use the color-coded navigation bar at the bottom, or the table of contents tab on the left side.

2012-12-31 19.37.42

The top toolbar gives you options for font size, audio (if applicable), search, share by email, bookmarks and tags.

2013-01-18 19.42.27

The first page of each article shows you the multimedia options available for each article. These options include the summary, podcasts, slide sets, and videos.

2013-01-18 20.05.26 2013-01-18 20.27.16

Links to a Cochrane website features, appendices, and PDFs are provided throughout each article when appropriate.

2013-01-18 20.39.42 2013-01-18 20.04.52 2013-01-18 20.02.17 2012-12-31 19.37.59 2012-12-31 19.36.28

The search function allows you to search the current issue or through all issues on your iPad.

2013-03-23 01.03.03

Evidence to support use

  • Provided (when appropriate) for each article

Price

  • Free

Likes

  • Color progress/bookmark marker at bottom of page
  • Labeling of progress marker by subject
  • PDF formatted articles
  • HTML links to the Cochrane Library
  • Includes a plain language summary
  • References provided en groupe, as well as individually

Dislikes

  • Issues draw articles from multiple years and do not state which year the article was published. However, per the explanatory article in the November 13th edition, from January 13th on, the issues will include new or recently updated reviews published that month.
  • Only abridged versions of review available
  • No table of contents for articles within the article
  • No ability to highlight
  • Inability to email an entire article

Healthcare providers that would benefit from the app

  • Health care providers desiring easy access to Cochrane Library articles

Conclusions

  • The Cochrane Library app provides interactive access to Cochrane Library content published as online/app issues. The organization of the app makes it easy to choose articles to read, as well to navigate between interesting articles.
  • The newness of the app limits depth of information available–not all library content available. It is available for the iPad, but not the iPhone or Android.

iMedicalApps recommended?

  • Yes

iTunes Link

 

Rating: 4
1. User Interface – 3.5.  A few kinks with closing windows, no embedded table of contents, but overall straightforward
2. Multimedia usage – 4.  Depending on the article, options include videos, podcasts, slide sets, and a summary
3. Price – 5. knowledge is price-less!
4. Real world applicability – 3.5.  Evidence-based medicine is helpful every day, but I may not need to do a literature review every day

Disclaimer:
This post does not establish, nor is it intended to establish, a patient physician relationship with anyone. It does not substitute for professional advice, and does not substitute for an in-person evaluation with your healthcare provider. It does not provide the definitive statement on the subject addressed. Before using these apps please consult with your own physician or healthcare provider as to the apps validity and accuracy as this post is not intended to affirm the validity or accuracy of the apps in question. The app(s) mentioned in this post should not be used without discussing the app first with your healthcare provider.

Author:

Kelli Barbour MD

4 Responses to Cochrane Library, a meta-analyses app at the tip of your metacarpals

  1. Stuart Ray April 16, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

    Nice review! One tip: you may find it easier to use your iPad if you use your fingertips (phalanges) rather than your knuckles (metacarpals). (grin)

    • Iltifat Husain, MD April 17, 2013 at 12:59 am #

      what?! i thought everyone uses their knuckles to use an iPad? :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *