The number of alternative apps to answering clinical questions at the point of care continues to grow. We recently reviewed several alternatives to UpToDate, currently the most comprehensive app for primary care. One of the alternatives we we impressed by was Dynamed. What we weren’t impressed by was their recent interface, but that all changed a few months ago with the launch of the new Dynamed Mobile that we recently reviewed. Finally, Dynamed had an app that could compete with UpToDate.
Dynamed from EBSCO was founded by a family physician, Dr Brian Alper. Dynamed covers over 3,200 topics and monitors over 500 journals. Although not as comprehensive as UpToDate, Dynamed is one of the most evidence based apps available. Dynamed continuously updates and pushes out weekly additions to all of their topics.
So with the recent relaunch of the Dynamed Mobile app, I was surprised to see the new Dynamed Plus. So what is the Plus all about? I decided to try out the 14 day free trial to find out. This review will focus on what is new and different compared to the existing Dynamed Mobile app. The Dynamed Plus website lists the following new features of Dynamed Plus: expanded graphics and images, concise overviews and recommendations, semantic search, expanded specialty content, and drug content from Micromedex.
For those who are already subscribed to Dynamed, at the end of this review I’ll discuss whether you should upgrade to Dynamed Plus or wait until your current Dynamed subscription expires.
I have been using the new Dynamed Plus mobile app while serving as attending for our Family Medicine Inpatient Team. I used Dynamed Plus for several inpatient encounters to answer questions on rounds and my own clinical questions that came up daily. I wanted to see how the new Dynamed Plus Mobile app compared to the recently updated Dynamed Mobile app.
Let’s say we are working on a patient with multiple medical problems including alcoholic liver disease with acute alcohol withdrawal syndrome. How well does Dynamed Plus work compared with Dynamed on this patient?
When you first open Dynamed Plus, it shows a simple search window ala UpToDate rather than a list of thousands of topics like the Dynamed app. This gives the app a bit of sophistication, but is a big change from a long time Dynamed user like myself. The next big change in Dynamed Plus is the predictive search results. You just start typing and similar to a Google search or UpToDate, Dynamed Plus predicts what you want. This also seemed faster to me than Dynamed at least on the same WiFi network. .
First I selected acute pancreatitis followed by alcohol withdrawal. The app quickly finds this topic and there is a very handy dropdown menu on the upper right hand corner that displays all the subtopics from Epidemiology to Diagnosis to Treatment to even ICD-9/ICD-10 codes. Unlike Dynamed, Dynamed Plus puts the dropdown right underneath the overall app setting dropdown. This could lead to some confusion and errors in use and would be better if the settings were located elsewhere so that the topic dropdown icon could be enlarged.
The next big difference is the text layout and overall look of the topic results. Dynamed Plus is much easier to read than Dynamed. The text is also easily adjustable depending on your device screen size. I did most of my review on my iPhone 6, but the app also looks great on the iPad. Similar to Dynamed, Dynamed plus allows you to tap an icon at the bottom of the screen that saves that topic to your favorites. You can also email or print any topic right from the app and take notes right inside the app on any topic.
The Dynamed Plus website mentions thousands of graphics and images, but these are not easily found within the app. Unlike UpToDate, in which the graphics and tables are given their own line in a topics table of contents, this is unfortunately missing in Dynamed Plus. However if you type, “smallpox image” or “melanoma image”, the app quickly locates them. In a similar fashion, you can just type the calculator you are looking for and the app brings it up. It would still be nice to have these more clearly identified in a topic’s subheadings.