The 20 best free iPhone medical apps for healthcare professionals, edition 3

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By: Iltifat Husain MD & Satish Misra MD

It’s been more than two years since the editors at iMedicalApps went through the medical apps available for iOS and found the best medical apps Physicians and other healthcare providers should download onto their iPhone. During that time the face of the App Store has changed, along with the phone itself.

Since our original list, there have been a tremendous number of new apps Physicians should consider downloading — many that we use on a daily basis.

One of the unique things about our search was the discovery of essential “non-medical” apps for healthcare professionals. These apps are not in the medical category and are used by the general public for other purposes — but when configured appropriately, become essential tools for Physicians.

This list required a tremendous amount of research and time and we hope you enjoy some of the unique applications we found — some of these apps might help you save a life. Remember to register on our site (free) to view the accompanying videos we made to give you an idea of how best to use the apps.

Methods:

The following list was compiled by the Editor-in-chief and Managing Editors of iMedicalApps. The editors individually searched through the iTunes store (desktop) and App Store (iOS) in the free medical apps category and compiled their top medical apps list. Key features looked at were quality of content, real world applicability, and user interface. After individual lists were compiled by the editors, the lists were compared and key categories were made to help delineate the medical apps functionality.

The following categories were selected:

- “Non-medical” apps critical for health care providers
- Drug Reference
- Medical Literature Curation apps
- Medical Calculators
- Medical Language translators
- General Reference
- Patient Education
- Specialty Education
- Continuing Medical Education (CME)
- Social Networks

The remaining editors at iMedicalApps were able to view the compiled lists in their entirety, and were given the opportunity to add other apps. The Editor in Chief and Managing Editor only included apps unanimously agreed upon.

“Non-Medical” Apps critical for health care providers

Editors at iMedicalApps are often asked by our peers to recommend key medical apps. To the surprise of many, the “medical” apps we use the most aren’t in the medical category of the App Store. Out of the list of medical apps we recommend to our Doctor friends, the following three are usually the apps we hear the most positive feedback about.

Usually the thanks is conveyed in the following way, “I can’t believe I didn’t know about  the ____ app sooner”. In the blank, insert one of the following apps: Feedly, Dropbox, or Evernote.

Feedly

Feedly started to get a lot of buzz in the tech world with the demise of Google Reader. It’s been seen as a replacement to Reader now, but does so much more. The application presents website articles to you in an easy, and aesthetically pleasing manner.

Why does this matter?

With more medical professionals starting blogs and teaching online, there is a growing community of Physician writers who write great academic and teaching pearls. We highlighted how this was being done in Emergency Medicine, and other specialties are doing this as well.

As the accompanying video shows, you can set up Feedly to pull in all the key medical websites or medical blogs you follow, and they are presented in a palatable manner — all in one place.

Video:

feedly

Links:

iTunes: Feedly

Evernote

Evernote is an application that is utilized extensively by the editors at iMedicalApps. It is a tremendous resource for storing PDF files, and more importantly — keeping track of all of your medical notes.  The accompanying video shows how great the app is at storing your notes. You can even add other Evernote users’ medical notes, as shown in the video.

One of the unique ways you can use Evernote is to take pictures of handouts.  This is great for Grand Rounds or for storing workflow algorithms — such as new Trauma protocols the hospital is implementing. Basically, Evernote prevents you from ever having to carry paper documents.

Recently, Evernote’s functionality increased tremendously when they added more comprehensive PDF reading ability.

Video:

evernote

Links:

iMA prior review: How medical professionals can use Evernote to improve productivity and learning
iTunes: Evernote

DropBox

While Evernote is the application you want to store your medical notes, Dropbox is the one you want to store your medical files. These range from your Grand Rounds presentations to medical literature PDF files. As with Evernote above, Dropbox recently upgraded their PDF viewing ability, so you don’t have to rely as much on other PDF reading apps.

Video:

dropbox

Links:

iMA prior review: How to use Dropbox in medicine 
iTunes: Dropbox

The suggested usage of these “non-medical” apps is the following:

- Feedly for your medical websites and blogs
- Evernote for your medical notes, workflow algorithms
- Dropbox for your medical files (PDFs, powerpoints)

Now if only Evernote and Dropbox would include PDF annotation functionality — that would be a game changer.

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Discussion ( 12 comments ) Post a Comment
  • Excellent updated list here by Dr. Husain. Agree with “…if only Evernote and Dropbox would include PDF annotation functionality — that would be a game changer.”

    On-page web annotation for PDF would just about assemble an off-the-shelf EMR with Feedly, Evernote and Dropbox.

  • One caveat regarding Dropbox; the hospital I am primarily affiliated with recently blocked access to Dropbox over their server due to concerns regarding lack of certified HIPPA compliance. This raised concerns about physicians storing PHI on their Dropbox sites. Dropbox’s own admission several months ago that their employees could in fact access content stored in their client’s accounts and that they could not guarantee that none would actually do so added fuel to that fire.

      • I agree that Dropbox is a great app for using cloud based technologies to store and access your data ….but! I would not advise the use of Dropbox within healthcare without some serious thought and water tight administration.

        Any person or organisations sorting data identifiable to an individual are legally responsible for the safe storage of the data but do not own it. If you cannot be sure that patient identifiable information will not be stored on servers that are located outside of the UK, security will not be compromised and that the data is safe then putting aside Dropbox’s merits it should not be used. Any admin happy having critical data stored on servers outside of their control should consider their position.

        Prevention is better than cure.

  • Hi there, thanks for the helpful information. I am just wondering where I could find that link that you mentioned in the evernote video re. viewing the files shared under the heading ‘paucis verbis’.
    Thanks again.

    Sean Underwood Subscriber
  • Great article – I asked Dropbox if they had plans to support HIPAA and HITECH standards and they responded that they have no plans to upgrade their solution so it supports HIPAA and HITECH standards. I have started using Box which has similar functionality AND fully support HIPAA and HITECH standards. See https://support.box.com/entries/22515768-Box-HIPAA-and-HITECH-Overview-and-FAQs.
    John

  • What has happened to Medibabble?
    The App Store states it is no longer available.

  • Medscape for general medical info? Really??

    No way, it is unusable.

    First, it breaks topics up into categories and subcategories, yet the user has no idea whether the answer to his/her question is in any particular category. Tons of wasted time clicking, scrolling, skimming, back-clicking, and so forth. It would be better to have fewer categories or a single page view. Plowing through Up-to-Date on a PC is way higher yield. Even though the articles are longer, one can effectively search, there are lots of links from one article to another, and thus if one does not initially arrive at the right info it is feasible if not easy to get there shortly. Not so with Medscape.

    Second, I have found no useful information. Lots of generalities, no answers to specific clinical questions. At least UTD has actual recommendations and clinical guidance.

    And do not underestimate the annoyance factor. Sign up for Medscape and they send you pseudo-journalism garbage endlessly.

    –JSt

  • NIH funded this company called Canopy – they just release probably the best medical translation app this past month – check it out – it’s called the Canopy Medical Translator. Here’s a youtube video of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryvzyj79jMo

    Daniel Kim

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