Although we reviewed ICU Notes last year, the authors have done a significant revision.
As such, we wanted to follow up on their hard work.
The medical app, compiled by an ICU physician out of the Royal London Hospital, has six broad sections.
The first, Basic critical care, addresses physiology, monitoring parameters, as well as basic treatment concepts. This section amounts to a quick up-to-date style synopsis on various critical topics.
As seen in the third image, the paragraph style synopsis is hyperlinked to allow easy browsing. The format is simple and functional. The second section is for differential diagnoses and it is a simple, yet helpful list.
The third section focuses on management with pathophysiology, clinical signs, diagnosis, management, and medications. It is fairly thorough, following the same up-to-date style format as the rest of the medical app.
The fourth section is several algorithms in PDF format. They are even zoomable and scrollable. The fifth and sixth sections are formulary and microbiology sections with quick synopses of a fairly extensive list of drugs and pathogens.
As you can see, there is a tremendous amount of information packed into the app. The challenge, however, is who will be accessing the information and for what purpose. This medical app is a perfect example of the importance of designing for your target audience. The medical app is designed to “improve the knowledge and understanding of critical care concepts,” and it seems to be a quick tour into the brain of a qualified and passionate ICU physician. The trouble is making the physician’s brain accessible and easy to track for the end user.
Two other medical apps that have tried to make a pocket book for a specialty are the Infectious Disease Compendium and PalmEM. These apps are on my top 10 medical app list and I view them as near perfect. Infectious disease compendium sticks to bugs, drugs, and diseases. It has a huge amount of information but it is contextualized. I only have to choose pneumonia for everything I need. I can reference Streptococcus if I want more information, though I don’t have to. PalmEM sticks to systems so I can find croup easily under the pediatrics heading.
ICU Notes could be a superb medical app if the developers reorganize it by either system or disease. Currently I might have to look in four different sections if I want to learn about sepsis (basic critical care for pressors, diagnosis for sepsis markers, management for pneumonia treatment, and management for the algorithm). This is impossible and impractical.
I would love to see another big overhaul of the formatting of this application. The information is there, but not easily accessible. Designed more effectively, this medical app could easily reach my top ten and be in use throughout the medical community.
Healthcare providers that would benefit from the app
- Medical students, residents, mid-levels, nurses, and early career hospitalists working in the Intensive Care Unit
- There is a list of journals, books, online resources, and meetings. Although this is a great start, I would love to see references on individual pages and hyperlinked articles and guidelines for specific strategies.
- I applaud the effort. Great content but a user interface that is difficult to navigate
- If reformatted, this could easily be in my top ten
- Change the algorithms from PDF format into something easier to navigate
- Re-work the entire app outline
- I would combine the current sections into system or diagnosis based categories (eg change it from basics, diagnosis and management to cardiology, infectious, CNS, etc)
- Add a search function with browser history
- Add a favorites section to bookmark common pages
- Add a notes section so the medical app can be personalized
- A great medical app in the making.
- As of publish, no Android version is available.
Type of Device used to review app Version of App–iPhone 5 and iPad with retina display
Rating: 3.5 Stars
1. User Interface: 2 stars- The information is too dense to easily navigate
2. Multimedia usage: 3 stars- A great start with algorithms and hyperlinks but could be improved upon
3. Price: 5 stars- Free
4. Real world applicability: 4 stars- I would use it daily if the outline is updated in the future
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.