Purpose of App Review

To review the usability and evaluate the electronic interface of the Bates’s pocket guide app.


Many of us walk into medical school never having laid an examining hand on a patient; we leave medical school and enter residency with hands meant for healing and interpretation.

History taking and physical exam skills come with time, teaching, and studying.

The Bates’ Pocket Guide to Physical Examination and History app, as well as the paper original, are an important resource for this learning. As such, the Bates’ Pocket guide app brings the 7th edition of the print copy straight to the clinician’s inquiring hands.

User Interface

The home page of the app brings you to an icon-based table of contents. The various sections are listed in chapters given by number and name.

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Once you choose a chapter, you are taken to a table of contents for that section. This table of contents fills up the right side of the split screen.

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Selecting a section slides the table of contents to the left and brings up that section. You can navigate within and between sections by scrolling vertically,

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Each of the chapters, similar to the print version, provides pictures of techniques as well as a variety of formats of interpretive aids.

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The left-sided tool bar is available throughout the app. It gives you the ability to navigate back in a hierarchical fashion, create and navigate to notes/highlights/bookmarks, search terms and page numbers and individualize view options.

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Images and tables also allow you to add notes and star (as a favorite) them for future referral. The app can also be linked to an Inkling account, as well as Facebook. Notes can be made private or be shared with the greater community.


  • $54.99


  • page references to the print copy
  • landscape and portrait aspects available
  • links between text, tables, other pages, images, and photos
  • full inclusion of images and photos
  • comparable photos between iPhone and iPad


  • limited use of video format
  • slideshows do not act in an automated fashion, but as a collection of tables and images

Healthcare providers that would benefit from the app

  • Healthcare students and providers interested in learning, refreshing, or teaching history and physical examination skills


  • This is a useful app for reviewing or learning physical examination skills.
  • While this app is expensive,  it easily provides a navigable electronic version of a trusted medical text.
  • This app is available for the iPad (tested device for this app) and iPhone, but not for the Android.

iMedicalApps recommended?

  • Yes


iTunes Link

Android Availability: 

– No

Rating: 3.25
1. User Interface – 4.5.  Easy to navigate between chapters and sections
2. Multimedia usage – 4.  Use of split screens works well for navigation.  Tables, images, and pictures faithfully reproduced.
3. Price – 1.  Expensive side of medical apps, price more than Kindle version or print version.
4. Real world applicability – 3.5.  Most useful when learning history and physical examination skills, could also be used for teaching.

This post does not establish, nor is it intended to establish, a patient physician relationship with anyone. It does not substitute for professional advice, and does not substitute for an in-person evaluation with your healthcare provider. It does not provide the definitive statement on the subject addressed. Before using these apps please consult with your own physician or healthcare provider as to the apps validity and accuracy as this post is not intended to affirm the validity or accuracy of the apps in question. The app(s) mentioned in this post should not be used without discussing the app first with your healthcare provider.