Purpose of App Review
- to review the robustness of pay-per-subscription guidelines
- to assess the user interface of the Guideline Central app
In the era of evidence based practice, clinicians are expected to use the latest data to help guide medical decision making.
However, not all providers are comfortable original scientific and medical literature and applying it changing their own individual practice. Fortunately, various specialities have guideline/bulletin/opinion committees which look at the literature and give recommendations in the form of guidelines.
Finding all the guidelines you want or need can be time-consuming – the Guideline Central app aims to make guidelines available to you on your smartphone or iPad, at a small price.
The Home screen of the Guideline Central app allows you to access all sections of the app and is easy to navigate.
The app is broken up into several sections: My Guidelines, Guidelines Library, Catalog, Notes/Bookmarks, and Connect. The bottom portion of the screen also allows you access to search the app, look at the history of what you have looked at in the app, and change the settings. The My Guidelines section gives you quick access to the guidelines for which you have paid to subscribe.
The Guidelines Library section helps you find guideline summaries (available for free). You can search the repository by keyword, organization (who published the guideline), profession, category, and specialty. You can also download the entire guideline summaries repository for offline access and use.
When you choose a guideline, the next screen allows you to see the six-month subscription price of the guideline and the terms and conditions of the purchase. You purchase the guideline by selecting subscribe. The info and photo icons allow you to read a description and pictures of the chosen guideline.
The Notes/Bookmarks section allows you access to any notes or bookmarks you have made while reading through the guidelines. The Connect section constitutes the feedback portion of the app.
After purchasing a guideline, you can access it through the My Guidelines section. The home screen of the guideline lists the sections of the guideline: Key Points, Diagnosis and Assessment, Standards of Medical Care, and About this guideline.
Choosing a section brings you to the written and tabular explanations of the guidelines.
Tables are generally found at the end of the section, but can be jumped to by choosing the table from a drop-down menu accessed through the right arrow icon on the top right. The permanent finger pointing/red icon in the bottom right corner gives you access to within-guideline functions such as search, find, notes, bookmarks, font, and home.
For example, I might use the app to catch up on diabetes screening and diagnosis guidelines. As an obstetrician/gynecologist, I am most familiar with gestational diabetes diagnosis, but I act as the primary care provider for some of my patients.
Referring to the app, I see that I can now use fasting glucose, a random glucose, a two-hour glucose tolerance test, or a hemoglobin A1c. Since my patients have a hard time making it to do fasting labs, I would like to get a snapshot of how the patient has been more than just over the past day or week, so I choose the hemoglobin A1c.
Evidence to support use
- Referenced societies provided at the end of the guideline
- App is free, but individual guidelines cost money (prices start at $3.99)
- Guidelines organization
- Explanation of grading given for various elements of the guideline
- Free access to guideline summaries with ability to download them for offline access
- Robust functionality within guidelines
- Subscription only lasts 6 months
- Difficult to read on iPhone screen (iPad browsing/reading is much easier)
Healthcare providers that would benefit from the app
- Any healthcare provider using guidelines to guide or dictate patient care
- The Guidelines Central app provides access to a large number of guidelines and even more guideline summaries.
- The cost is small, but charges accrue every 6 months.
- The guidelines are easier to read on the iPad compared to the iPhone.
- The quality and organization of the guidelines, with the ability to get updates as they become available makes this app a good one to consider for your practice.
- This app is available on the iPad and iPhone as well as the Android platform.
1. User Interface – 4. Easy movement within and throughout the app.
2. Multimedia usage – 4. Utilizes tables, split screen, and menus which follow with you and/or disappear.
3. Price – 3. App is free, but guidelines start at $3.99 and are charged every 6 months.
4. Real world applicability – 2. Probably most useful for guidelines that you are not as familiar with, meaning those you do not need to use very often.
App version: 1.0
Compatibility: iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Optimized for iPhone 5.
Requires: Requires iOS 5.1 or later
Tested on: iPhone 4S
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.