This pocket sized reference book in a white coat is often as ubiquitous as the stethoscope around the neck of a medical student and other trainees. However with more and more reference books making the transition to electronic format – is the death of the pocket sized textbook nearly amongst us? McGraw-Hill have teamed up with developers Mobile Systems to release a special 50th edition of CURRENT Medical Diagnosis and Treatment (CMDT) for iPhone, iPad and iPhone Touch.
In our review of Current Essentials of Medicine, the transition from print to electronic format is not an easy one to make. Here we look to see how McGraw-Hill and Mobile Systems did with the next member of the Current series.
iTunes describes CMDT as:
the first place to turn for current developments that promise better patient care. CMDT offers the most current insight into symptoms, signs and epidemiology, and treatment for more than 1000 diseases and disorders.
CMDT has been developed so that the user can quickly access important patient care information whilst out on the wards. The app itself includes a searchable index, hyperlinking within articles to relevant topics, and the ability to bookmark articles for later reading. It is useful that treatment recommendations for each condition are supported by a number of journal articles allowing the physician to read the evidence for themselves. Unfortunately, it is not possible to link directly to the articles through the application itself.
The depth and detail of the information in this application is exemplary and users should be assured that important information is straightforward to find despite the extensive detail. The range of diseases is much wider than even CURRENT Essentials of Medicine and the increased level of diagnostic information significantly improves understanding of underlying disease processes. This application covers a wide range of internal medicine as well as other areas such as psychiatry, obstetrics & gynecology. In addition, a range of online only chapters accessible through the application add even more breadth and detail.
Information on key investigations and signs/symptoms is detailed and often well explained. In addition, the treatment information is regularly reviewed and updated to fall in line with current guidelines.
Unfortunately there is one major drawback to this app – the price. Whilst the combination of diagnostic and treatment information is incredibly useful, you just can’t help but feel that at $74.99, this application has priced itself out of the market. There is an interesting juxtaposition between publishers keen to expand their markets and the App Store economy. This is not a unique problem to CDMT but to an entire range of pocket reference books that have been converted in mobile applications. We will have to wait and see if in the long term, healthcare professionals are prepared to pay for these expensive applications given that it is often cheaper (as in this case) to purchase the actual book.
- Strong focus on diagnostic and treatment options available for a wide range of diseases
- Impressive attention to detail covering all important clinical aspects of each condition further backed up with evidence based resources
- Universal application that is easy to navigate and use
- Expensive price may put this application out of reach for most healthcare professionals
- In terms of content, usability and overall utility, CURRENT Medical Diagnosis and Treatment is an incredibly useful app that would be sure to benefit a wide range of healthcare professionals ranging from medical student to senior physicians.
- Unfortunately this comes at a price that may put this application out of reach for many of the potential user base described above.