Epocrates has been my go-to drug guide since medical school. It has changed a lot since then, but remains one of the friendliest, fastest drug guides available. If you simply want a free drug guide, Epocrates remains an excellent option. However, there really is no such thing as a free lunch. Epocrates has a close relationship with pharma, as we have highlighted previously, “Why free medical apps aren’t really free“. They are now also owned by an insurance company, Athenahealth. We have written about 3 alternatives to Epocrates for physicians as well.
But what about evidence based medicine when prescribing to our patients? The drug dosing in the apps are not what I would term “evidence-based”, but rather what is approved by the FDA and other regulatory authorities. In the 1990’s, providers in the US began what they termed academic detailing.
Taking the Big Pharma “detailing” method, but using evidence based medicine as the message. This model was further developed by family physicians in Canada who began to “academically detail” their colleagues on comparative drug dosing. Over the years, this became RxFiles which is available as a website, pocketbook, large table book and mobile apps. Recently, they launched RxFiles + which combines access to their website along with their mobile apps. The app provides over 180 charts of comparative drug prescribing and numerous tables on medical conditions divided into common specialty categories. Using these tables takes some practice. The RxFiles website contains this orientation video:
You are in the middle of a busy clinic and have several key decisions to make regarding prescriptions for a patient newly diagnosed with Type II diabetes. You recall recommendations for glucose lowering agents, statins and ACE inhibitors, but which ones? Also the patient wants to quit smoking and wants to know what you recommend. Let’s take a look at RxFiles + in action.
Evidence based medicine
The app contains “pure” evidence based medicine–RR, OR, NNT, NNH for numerous medications across multiple specialty areas. The company does not accept any industry funding and is based on “academic detailing” techniques developed by providers in the US and Canada.
What providers would benefit from this App?
Students, nurses, PA, NP, Primary Care physicians, pharmacists and any provider who prescribes medications on a regular basis and is interested in evidence based 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.
- $59.00/year or $99.00 for 2 years (Canadian dollars). Free subscription for Saskatchewan health professionals.
- Contains numerous high quality concise comparative drug charts.
- Evidence based terminology; true academic detailing.
- Subscription includes access to all website content.
- Charts can be VERY busy and challenging to read on small device.
- Some abbreviations/symbols are challenging to decipher.
- No links to website information/resources from within app.
An interesting combination of drug guide and evidence based medicine in “chart” form. The app will benefit a wide range of medical providers and may change the way many of us prescribe pharmaceuticals. The app is hindered somewhat by its very detailed/overly busy interface.
- Overall Score
- User Interface
Simple, chart based comparative drug information, but VERY busy.
- Multimedia Usage
The app is updatable with new charts as they are released and the subscription allows full access to the RxFiles website, but you cannot access the website information from within the app.
Reasonably priced as the subscription packages give access to the mobile app and website.
- Real World Applicability
If providers will take the time to decipher the busy charts, they will discover a wealth of prescriber pearls that are evidence based and free of bias.
- Device Used For Review
iPhone 6S running iOS 9.1
- Available for DownloadAndroidiPhoneiPad