Contraception recently took its turn as the topic du jour in presidential politics. It is timely, then, to review an app featuring oral contraceptive pills for those of us in the health profession who view oral contraceptives as an essential tool in providing quality comprehensive care to women.
OCP Reference is a basic reference app for health care providers who prescribe oral contraceptive pills (OCPs). It sorts pills by name, estrogen or progesterone dose, non-contraceptive features, and efficacy.
Although it is a less effective educational tool than Contraception i-Pocketcards (previously reviewed)—and thus a less useful resource for medical students and contraceptive novices—this app can be quite useful for providers who have a good grasp on the underlying physiology and comparative merits of different OCP formulations.
Simplicity is the strength of this app. Essentially, the app sorts oral contraceptive pills available in the United States according to their characteristics:
- by Estrogen dose or Progestin type. Notably, the Progestins are sorted from most to least androgenic.
- by effectiveness (failure rates with typical and perfect use) compared to other contraceptive methods, including IUD, path, ring, and natural family planning.
- and lastly by features (e.g. progestin only, extended cycle)
For clinicians familiar with these features of oral contraceptives, this app can be a handy reference – a way to pick out specific brands or pills based on the needs of the patient.
OCP Reference lacks information on the principles of contraception (like basic physiology, indications, contraindications, and medical eligibility) that make its competitor–Contraception i-Pocketcards–an excellent educational tool.
This app is not for medical students learning the ins and outs of OCPs.
- iPhone/iPod only
- Color photos of pills
- An intuitive user interface; navigation is superior to Contraception i-Pocketcards
- Thorough contraceptive effectiveness chart
- The content of this app is somewhat limited, and users would benefit from the addition of these critical components regarding contraceptive management
- A section on emergency contraception
- A table of CDC or WHO medical eligibility criteria for contraceptive use (2010)
- The “Browse by Feature” section should have more options for non-contraceptive benefits (i.e. lactation not disturbed, treatment of PMDD)
- Why not expand to non pill contraceptives (i.e. injection, patch, intrauterine device)?