Purpose of App Review
- to review the breadth of the laboratory and diagnostic tests available
- to review how the Pocket Guide to Diagnostic Tests differs from the Davis Laboratory & Diagnostic Tests medical app
- to test recommendations section
As important as a history and physical exam are, they do not always provide an immediate diagnosis. Laboratory and imaging studies can be diagnostic or help with medical decision making.
If you order a test though, you should know why you are ordering it and how to interpret it. Unbound Medicine’s Pocket Guide to Diagnostic Tests medical app seeks to provide health care providers who order tests a robust guide to common and not-so-common medical tests and studies.
Like Unbound Medicine’s other apps, you need to register (for free) to use the app (and you have to do this for each of their apps). You are prompted to do so on the first use of the app, after which the app downloads any needed updates.
The home screen gives you access to the app’s extensive features including Favorites, All Tests, Laboratory Tests, Therapeutic Drug Monitoring and Pharmacogenetic Tests, Microbiology Tests, Tests in Differential Diagnosis, Diagnostic Algorithms, Nomograms, and Tests in Specific Diseases, among others.
You can access laboratories and tests in a few ways. The app organizes orders by laboratory, imaging, and microbiology. By selecting any of these sections, you can then choose the item of interest by jumping to it or by searching alphabetically.
You can also access any tests by selecting the All Tests section. Selecting this provides you an alphabetized, navigable list of tests/imaging/cultures.
The app also includes an index search feature, which is available at the top right portion of the app. Type in your test name and a pop-up window lists matches.
Regardless of how you get to your test of interest, the information on that test is provided in a similar format. For laboratory tests, the app provides details such as the test name, what it can be ordered on, how to obtain it, the relative cost of the test, the physiologic basis of the test, test interpretation, and comments (includes PubMed references).
Microbiology tests are organized by organism, specimen/diagnostic tests, and comments.
The Imaging Tests section descriptions are organized by test parameters (what organ applicable to, names, relative cost, indications, advantages, disadvantages / contraindications).
Similar to other Unbound Medicine apps, each information section provides options to navigate within the indexed section and to add it to your favorites. You can add any test to your favorites section by selecting the star icon. To access your favorites, you go to your home screen and select Favorites.
The app has a few unexpected, but awesome features: Diagnostic Algorithms and Basic Electrocardiography and Echocardiography.
The diagnostic algorithm is particularly useful–although very limited–and much more geared towards internal medicine fields. I have found it particularly useful for diagnosing and managing hyponatremia in my oncology patients. This section includes algorithms for common and less common medical issues and symptoms.
The Tests in Differential Diagnosis section is probably the weakest section for me–it provides mostly tables to refer to, rather than workup algorithms or a list of usual and less usual tests to consider for your patient.
Several other features round out this rather extensive app, including guides on point-of-care testing and on diagnostic testing and medical decision making.
- extensive inclusion of diagnostic and laboratory tests
- ability to save tests as a favorites
- links to additional resources included, such as Pubmed articles
- diagnostic algorithms section included
- utilizes images, tables, and text to convey information
- relative cost indicated for all tests
- easier to read on iPad than on iPhone
- imaging tests information does not have a comments section
- not exhaustive of all tests, including some specialty-specific ones (like CA125)
- recommended tests do not always reflect those recommended by governing bodies (eg. a pregnancy test should almost always be done for someone with amenorrhea)
Healthcare providers that would benefit from the app
- Healthcare providers and students who order tests and find a reference for choosing and interpreting tests relevant to their practice setting.
- Unbound Medicine’s Pocket Guide to Diagnostic Tests medical app is a useful app with a wide-breadth of imaging, microbiology, and diagnostics tests. The app adds to its value by providing algorithm guides, as well as a discussion on test statistics, and recommended tests for specific diseases. The app is also available for Blackberry for $39.99.
1. User Interface – 5. Incredibly easy to navigate. Can return to the home screen from any screen.
2. Multimedia usage – 4. Includes tables, texts, drawings and utilizes split screen display with smooth transitions.
3. Price – 2. On the expensive side, but not most expensive end at $44.99. On par with other Unbound Medicine apps.
4. Real world applicability – 4. Most helpful for less used tests, learners, and diagnostic algorithms.
App version: 1.3
Compatibility: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. This app is optimized for iPhone 5
Requires: Requires iOS 4.3 or later
Tested on: iPad 4 and 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.