by: Surinder Yadav MD
The Med Student’s Differentials Dx app is designed for students that may have trouble remembering differentials for any particular symptom or sign. It is available for the iPhone and iPad.
The goal of the app is to reduce the incidence of diagnostic errors by providing information that is useful to understanding differentials in a concise package.
The home screen has two headings –Common Complaints and Serious Complaints.
If you choose to look at common complaints, the app provides a list of common symptoms and signs that a patient may complain of such as abdominal pain. Tapping on that button provides an alphabetical laundry list of serious causes and less serious causes but no clear delineation with respect to frequency of occurrence.
One thing I would like to point out, is that the app developers should have created the laundry list in the descending order of occurrences. This would have been a simple addition that would increase the utility of the app. It would also have been relatively important to specify what is as rare as “Hens Teeth” or the most common etiology.
Once in a specific list, you have to click on questions to have some common question based answers as your reference for the possible problem and its related causes. The answers are very basic and direct instructions, such as – “If the pain is right lower side: consider appendicitis and call a surgeon or send the child to the ER”.
Clicking on the disease listed in the differential does not do anything and provides no reference material or information about the disease itself.
The app is limited in what it can provide but may be useful as a quick reference or reminder. For the layman who might want to have this type of information at hand, it could turn out to be confusing and anxiety provoking.
One thing that does irritate me is the disregard for grammatically correct sentences scattered throughout the app. The idea of the app is a thoughtful one in terms of trying to reduce diagnostic errors, however, with the way it is set up currently, the app may lead to more confusion.
- Currently $1.99
- Easy to use
- Quick reference
- Limited in reference material
- Basic information
- The app is a quick and dirty reference material for those that may just be starting out in their careers or have trouble remembering lists.