by: Daniel Reynolds, MS-2
With the vast selection of labs and tests that are available in medicine today, it can be hard to remember the reference values for every test.
Having the correct laboratory values with you at all times could prove valuable to any health care provider.
This is where the Android application Quick LabRef from Nika Informatics comes in. And while it does get the job done, potential users should consider one big flaw before using this app in clinical practice.
Quick LabRef takes all of the standard lab values in medicine and places them into one easy to use application. This app also contains important information that would be included in many medical textbooks.
It has features such as:
- Known gene locations of diseases
- Chromosome analysis information
- EKG interpretation
- Unit conversion tables
- American Cancer Society Guidelines
- Immunization schedules
- Microbiology information
- Toxicology drug levels
- Newborn screening tables
- Physiology equations
Upon launching the app, you are presented with a list of categories including:
- Blood tests
- Non-blood tests
Within each category are the specific tests where you can find values and information.
When you select the tests you’d like to see, you’re presented with values in conventional units (CU) and SI units. Notice that for certain values, you’re presented with data for both males and females. Unfortunately, the application provides no details of where they get their lab values from.
Here’s an example of what the arterial blood gases chart looks like. When you are within each test’s menu, you are able to zoom in and out and scroll up and down through the information.
As an example of the breadth of information available, if you needed a quick refresher on tidal volume, functional residual capacity, and residual volume, you could use the respiratory/lungs menu to see equations and everything charted out for you. Notice the zoom buttons in the lower right corner of the picture.
There is a whole microbiology category that includes information on zoonoses, common pathogens, HIV, toxins, etc. It includes information on bacterial characteristics such as gram + or gram -, whether it’s aerobic or anaerobic, and what medium to use for culture. There is quite a bit of detail provided in these menus.
Here is an example of information available on EKG’s.
Quick LabRef provides lots of extra physiology information such as equations, sympathetic/parasympathetic effects, cardiovascular values, receptor characteristics, and so on.
In some ways, its hard to capture the breadth of information available in the app beyond just lab references – here we have information on gene loci, scoring scales, and templates.
My biggest concern with Quick LabRef is with the source of information and values. No where in the Android market description or within the application itself does it give sources of where the lab values are from. Most of the medical information contained within this application is also not referenced. There are some exceptions to this, but for the most part, references are not available.
To test some of the lab values, I decided to compare the complete blood count and hematology lab values in Quick LabRef with those published in the article, Laboratory Reference Values, in the October 7, 2004 issue of NEJM and they did compare favorably.
I’d recommend to anyone who would like to use this app to make sure it coincides favorably with the lab values that you use at your institution before relying on it for values. I’d also recommend verifying that the medical information – such as EKG interpretations, toxic drug levels, and prenatal screening – are completely accurate before relying on it in medical practice.
- Free in the Android Market
- Has a vast amount of lab values
- Ability to zoom in and out on lab value pages
- Contains lots of extra information such as EKG rhythms, H&P templates, cancer screening guidelines, microbiology, immunization schedules, toxicology, USPSTF recommendations, etc.
- It can be used without an internet connection since everything is saved to your phone
- Contains no ads
- It is free
- No references for lab values and medical content
- Unknown credentials of the app’s author
- No search function
- App randomly switches orientation in certain menus
- No option to edit the lab values so they correspond with your specific institution
- If the author decides to provide references for all of the test information and values, this application would easily be one of the top medical Android apps available
- This is a beautifully designed application with plenty of features to offer any health care provider for the outstanding price of free