For practicing physicians, the key factor when deciding which treatment is most effective is the supportive evidence base.

Physicians often don’t have the time to go through all the available evidence when selecting treatments and thus rely on others to go through all the available data to come up with a sound conclusion.

There are some mobile apps such as MyStudies and Journal Club which have attempted to bridge this gap.

One of the major evidence bases is Clinical Evidence which is run by the BMJ Group. Their Clinical Evidence database contains information on over 200 medical conditions with over 2,000 treatments.

The team behind Clinical Evidence have teamed up with renowned developers Unbound Medicine to bring this information directly to your mobile device.

The idea behind porting this database to mobile is so that physicians can make important evidence based judgments at the point of care. The information stored in the Clinical Evidence database is based on a thorough appraisal of the literature and then broken down into a straightforward accessible format.

The Clinical Evidence app is available for iOS, Android and Blackberry. This review will focus on the Android version (Galaxy Nexus S running ICS).

Opening the app presents the user with three simple options: Favourites, Contents and Index.

The contents page is ordered by a combination of systems eg Respiratory disorders and important conditions eg diabetes. This can sometimes make it challenging to find the exact condition you are looking for using the menu system. This is offset by the excellent robust search function which enabled results to be quickly found. The dictation system was good at recognising medical words which further reduced search times.

Selecting a condition brings the user to the Treatment Summary. This is an excellent, hyperlinked resource which list interventions based on their effectiveness as proven by literature. It is possible to find out more about each particular intervention just by tapping which leads to key points. Clinical Evidence clearly indicates the reliability of each intervention which is a significant asset when trying to select a treatment.

 

 

Loading times were negligible and the data is stored offline for easy access. The app automatically updates itself every month to ensure that all the treatment options are up to date.

One area which has not transferred to mobile well is the evidence tables for each treatment. These table give important summary information of the evidence itself eg outcome/interventions/population etc.

However, as you can see from the screenshot, these have not been ported well and they are difficult to read. I imagine they would be considerably better on a tablet device.

 

Tapping on a particular paper brings up the full PubMed reference although frustratingly you cannot tap on this to open in a browser.

Price

  • $49.99

Likes

  • Robust search function with useful history/favourite functionality
  • All data stored offline
  • Hyperlinking of key interventions
  • Clear indication of each treatments evidence base
  • Automatic monthly updates to keep up to date

Dislikes

  • Table formatting is poor making tables challenging to read
  • Can’t open literature references in Pubmed or browser
Summary: Clinical Evidence is a useful Android app for those physicians who want easy access to evidence based judgments at the point of care. The intuitive user interface and powerful search function mean accessing and identifying key treatments is straightforward.