The CDC’s Yellow Book is an indispensable reference for providers whose patients travel internationally. Published every two years, the CDC Yellow Book contains detailed country and disease-specific recommendations for travel. The Yellow Book can be found on the CDC’s website in an easy-to-use format, making it a terrific resource for travel medicine and primary care providers. Previously on iMedicalApps we reviewed the 2014 Yellow Book app and found the travel medicine app hampered by a clunky user interface.

The CDC has just released the 2016 version of the Yellow Book travel medicine app so we decided to take another look. As per usual the content of the Yellow Book can be accessed for free online (including your phone’s mobile browser!). Other options for providers include the UK’s Travax site and Relief Central–an app that we liked despite some limitations.

Generally, we have been fans of the CDC’s apps. They have released an easy to use Vaccine Schedule app, an excellent STD app, Influenza app, GBS app and Mobile Health app. For unknown reasons, the Yellow Book app is produced by MedHand Mobile. It resembles more of a “book” than an app especially compared to the other CDC apps.

The CDC’s travel medicine app is free to download, but is content limited. For a $9.99 in app purchase you can unlock the full content of the app. When you open the app, you see a table of contents with numerous icons serving as header and footer. The paid version includes access to the full table of contents, country-specific vaccine information, maps, full search functionality, etc. You definitely do not want the free version of the app, but the interface is not terribly friendly so you may want to stick with the online version.

The app is snappy, but sections are text heavy and the graphics of the app are not ideal for navigating. The icons at the top and bottom of the app are confusing and some are simply unnecessary. This is all very unfortunate as the content of the Yellow Book is invaluable when dealing with patients with pre travel needs or who return ill from exotic locations.

Clinical Scenario

You are in clinic when a 45 year old male presents for a travel evaluation. He works for the Peace Corps and will be spending several months in Liberia. He wants to know what vaccines he requires, if he needs malaria prophylaxis, etc. Let’s take a look at the CDC Yellow Book app and how it can help us with this patient.

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Evidence based medicine

  • The CDC travel medicine app is based on the content from the Yellow Book which is published by the CDC every two years. It is well referenced, but none of the references are hyperlinked.

What healthcare providers would benefit from the CDC’s travel medicine app

  • Students, residents, travel medicine providers, preventive medicine providers, primary care providers, emergency medicine providers, mid-levels, and any provider who deals with patients and families who travel.

Patients that may benefit from this travel medicine app

  • Travelers who want health information, such as parents adopting children internationally.

travel medicine app

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
    • The basic app is free, but the content is limited. The full version is $9.99.
    • Offline access to the Yellow Book’s resources.
    • Ability to bookmark pages.
    • Fast and responsive app.
  • Dislikes
    • Price of the app, especially given the free availability of the content online.
    • No hyperlinks to references.
    • Text heavy format not well suited for all mobile devices.
  • Overall

    The CDC Yellow Book remains the definitive travel reference. Unfortunately, the clunky format of the app version of the Yellow Book and its $9.99 price make it difficult to recommend over the free online version. We recommend making a mobile app of the full website on your device for free. For providers who will be “downrange” out of internet/cell reception, may want to consider the full priced app.

  • Overall Score
  • User Interface

    Clunky, text-heavy interface with icons and text that are not user friendly.

  • Multimedia Usage

    Well referenced, but no active hyperlinks. Only one built in calculators for age which seems unnecessary.

  • Price

    App is $9.99 which may be too steep for providers who can simply access the online version of the Yellow Book for free.

  • Real World Applicability

    The CDC Yellow Book is indispensable for travel medicine.

  • Device Used For Review

    iPhone 6S running iOS 9.1

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