Editors Note: We no longer recommend this app for download. The editors of Life in the Fast Lane reached out to us to let us know how someone was using this research without permission to make this app. Refer to the comments section to learn more.

Prior to the internet and age of apps, trainees would fill their white coat pockets with copies of the Washington Manual, Ferri’s, Mass General’s Pocket Medicine and the like. Now some “carry” the digital versions of these textbooks, while others have migrated to “hunting” tools such as UpToDate, Dynamed or Essential Evidence Plus. Some app developers have even designed their own “pearls” books such as the excellent FP Notebook.

The latest edition to the “do it yourself” textbook app is the Critical Care Compendium app. This app was created by Dr Chris Nickson, FACEM, FCICM and originated from the FCICM exam study notes created by Jeremy Fernando in 2011 (information from Life in the Fast Lane). This group makes a number of fabulous and free resources as part of their FOAM (Free Open Access Meducation) network. The app attempts to provide the critical care provider/intensivist a comprehensive reference.

The Critical Care Compendium app contains over 50 topic categories and over 1,650 chapters and sub-chapters. Some of the topics are commonly seen in apps like this, such as severe heart failure and sepsis, while others are more esoteric, such as icu design and how to stay healthy as an intensivist. The app covers A LOT of ground, but much of it is for quick reference only and reads more like medical pearls rather than an authoritative reference on the topic. My biggest reservation about the app is the lack of any references within the app itself, but the blog lists contributors/references used to create and maintain the material.

Let’s try out Critical Care Compendium to see it in action.

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Evidence based medicine
Critical Care Compendium appears to be filled with some very high quality pearls from a reputable source with numerous contributors, but the lack of references within the app needs to be remedied in future updates. The app pearls are also very succinct and this may not be enough information for those looking for more detail like that found in UpToDate or Dynamed Plus. Some information is clearly geared towards providers in New Zealand and Australia where the app’s authors are based.

What providers would benefit from this App?
Students, residents, mid-levels, any staff provider who is interested in an economical critical care pocket guide for an ICU rotation or internship/fellowship. The app is written for providers in New Zealand and Australia but may appeal to anyone working in critical care medicine.

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
    • $0.99
    • Interface is easy to find brough categories of information and have universal search.
    • Many MANY topics covered (though perhaps too briefly).
    • Economical considering the amount of information in the app.
  • Dislikes
    • No references found anywhere in the app (with a few exceptions).
    • Detail of many topics is a touch superficial (granted it is geared as a fellowship review app).
    • Not available for Android.
  • Overall

    An ambitious and economical app designed for critical care providers in New Zealand and Australia that falls short of a top rating due to a lack of references for the material and all too brief descriptions of key critical care topics. However, it makes for an excellent review “book” and quick reference.

  • Overall Score
  • User Interface

    Simple to use interface with universal search, but some areas seem to just keep going and going…

  • Multimedia Usage

    Really no multimedia functions–no built in calculators, links to other sites, etc. Not sure those are needed for an app the is intended to be a review/quick reference though.

  • Price

    App is only $0.99.

  • Real World Applicability

    I could see this app being used by New Zealand and Australia emergency medicine and critical care providers for which is was designed and US medical students, residents, and critical care fellows looking for a cheap “pocket” reference for ICU rotation. I would like to see more of the reference and authorship information more clearly stated within the app and not just on the LITFL blog.

  • Device Used For Review

    iPhone 6 running iOS 9.0.2

  • Available for DownloadiPhoneiPad