Clinical Scenario:

You are seeing a 65 yo female with Type II diabetes who presents with eye pain, knee pain and swelling, and a rash on her arms that began two weeks after returning from a trip to a national park on the east coast. The patient denies knee trauma, but was camping for about one week with her husband in a tent with occasional short hikes on the Appalachian Trail. Let’s take a look at IDdx in action.

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Fever and a rash are common complaints seen in both adults and children in the clinic, ER and inpatient wards. The outbreak of Ebola in West Africa last year made this abundantly clear when the first case of Ebola was diagnosed in an ER in Dallas, TX. This one case sparked debate in the media and all over the internet about whether or not the patient could have been diagnosed earlier. Keeping a broad differential diagnosis is wise with just about any complaint, but can be especially useful when dealing with infectious diseases. Does that patient with a cough in the ER have an upper respiratory infection or pneumonia, community acquired pneumonia or Legionella, or something even worse like Hantavirus or multi-drug resistant TB?

IDdx: Infectious Disease Queries is an app designed to help with these difficult decisions. It functions as a decision support tool that helps to build and at the same time limit the differential diagnosis based on key symptoms and epidemiological data that you enter into the app. It reminds us of VisualDx and Diagnosaurus but for infectious diseases. The app was created by Dr Jay Brown, MD, MPH, a family and occupational medicine physician with an MPH from the University of Washington. He also serves as a consultant for the US National Library of Medicine which may explain the impressive functionality of the app. The programming within the app is very slick and updated frequently based on actual epidemiological data from respected sources such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The app can also be used simply as an infectious disease textbook of sorts in that it contains the same type of information found in other ID apps such as Sanford and Hopkins Abx Guide. The app links to drug treatment where applicable to either CDC or Merck Manual, but is not intended to be a true drug dosing guide. The goal of the app is to aid providers in taking the undifferentiated infectious disease patient and making the proper diagnosis such that patients with highly infectious or simply rare pathogens aren’t missed.

Evidence based medicine

IDdx incorporates the latest edition of Control of Communicable Diseases Manual (CCDM), Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases (PPID), Infectious Diseases (Cohen), Tropical Infectious Diseases (Guerrant), and numerous other sources from CDC to Hopkins Abx Guide. A complete list of references is here.

What providers would benefit from this App?

Students, residents, mid-levels, primary care, emergency medicine, infectious disease, preventive medicine, global health and any provider who sees patients with various infectious diseases.

Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.

  • Price
    • Free
    • Powerful input tool that intersects symptoms with real epidemiological data.
    • Very detailed descriptions of each infectious disease with references.
    • Ability to sort results by global, US and alphabetical.
    • Can alter sensitivity of search from high to low to match symptoms.
  • Dislikes
    • Cannot easily jump within different sections of a particular topic.
    • Drug dosing information frequently from Merck Manual and difficult to read.
    • Some capabilities of the app may not be readily apparent.
    • Can’t restrict to specific regions of the US.
  • Overall

    A remarkable infectious disease tool that combines ease of use with up to date epidemiological data that could truly help providers make the correct diagnosis at the point of care.

  • Overall Score
  • User Interface

    Well designed and pretty intuitive (especially once you review the Hints section).

  • Multimedia Usage

    Links out to other sources for references and drug dosing recommendations.

  • Price

    App is free!

  • Real World Applicability

    Likely indispensable for providers in global health and infectious disease and very likely helpful for anyone who takes care of patients with undifferentiated infections.

  • Device Used For Review

    iPhone 6 running iOS 8.4

  • Available for DownloadAndroidiPhoneiPad