For many of us, especially my residents and fellows, UpToDate is the medical application of choice for answering clinical questions. It’s not surprising why. UpToDate is now one of the oldest and most respected sources of medical information. Founded in 1992 by Dr Burton Rose, UpToDate has grown into a juggernaut. Nearly every academic medical center in the United States uses UpToDate. I have been using it since I first was exposed to it during my Family Medicine residency. It became my go to app on my Palm Pilot and every Smart Device I have owned since.

Until recently, it was difficult and and expensive to use the mobile version of UpToDate on your device. Unless you were an individual subscriber, like myself, you couldn’t enjoy UpToDate on your mobile device as a native app.  In 2013 that changed with the introduction of UpToDate Anywhere. If your medical center has an institutional subscription, you can get access to UpToDate Anywhere on your iPhone, Android or Windows Phone devices for free. However, those apps require a cellular or wireless connection to work. Only individual subscribers (for an additional fee) can get UpToDate Mobile Complete which truly permits offline access.

So what if you want offline access, but don’t want, or can’t afford, an individual subscription?

What are the alternatives to UpToDate?

There are three great UpToDate alternatives that physicians should consider — some even offer functionality that is better than UpToDate.  Another great thing about these apps is they are substantially cheaper than UpToDate.  All three of the following medical reference tools work on iOS(iPhone), Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry.

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