Frequently, trainees ask me why they need a dedicated infectious disease guide. Why can’t they just use a drug guide such as Epocrates or Lexicomp or reference apps such as UpToDate, Dynamed or Essential Evidence Plus? Perhaps they could. The problem with drug guides is that they may not be up to date or accurate. Witness the recent removal of the app Bugs + Drugs by Epocrates. This app simply was not accurate. The embedded drug guides in Epocrates Essentials and LexiComp’s full suite are fine, but require additional purchase. The issue with the reference apps is that in order to find what you are looking for you have to dig through excellent but unnecessary text in UpToDate or Dynamed to drill down to the information you need.

Prior to the days of my smartphone, I carried around a pocket guide of Sanford as my go to infectious disease guide. For many years, I used Sanford on Palm, Treo’s, etc. Once I went to iOS, I found the app slow and clunky. So for years, I have been recommending the outstanding Johns Hopkins ABX Guide–the infectious disease app of choice in our opinion. The best alternative is the equally excellent Sanford Guide. My preference of Hopkins over Sanford had been the better user interface and faster “load time” of the app on my iPhone. But with the 2015 edition, the Sanford Guide has upped their game. The information within is essentially identical. The key to carrying either Sanford or Hopkins is the ability to get updates throughout the year. Once you buy your paper version of Sanford, it is already out of date. Not so with the mobile version of Sanford.

Any reason to choose Sanford over Hopkins? For many providers, the name Sanford is synonymous with infectious disease authority. As a military provider, I have the deepest respect for the late Dr Jay Sanford for his years of service in the US Army and as Dean and President of the Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, MD. The first Sanford Guide was produced in 1969! The Sanford Guide was one of the first print guides to make the jump to various mobile platforms from the web to mobile apps. For many of us, the print edition brings back a lot of memories of our training days. Since both Sanford and Hopkins are only $29.99, they are both very reasonable annual outlays. Just pick the one you like the most and don’t look back. Let’s try out the 2015 Sanford Guide to see it in action.

Video Review

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Evidence based medicine

The Sanford Guide to Antimicrobial Therapy has been the authority in infectious disease prescribing for decades. The app contains the expert guidelines from the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). The app version of Sanford finally lives up to its venerable name and is highly preferable to the paper version of the Guide. The app contains numerous hyperlinks to journal articles, websites like the CDC, etc. as references for its recommendations.

What providers would benefit from this App?

Students, residents, mid-levels, hospitalists, nurses, any staff provider who cares for patients with infectious diseases.

sanford guide antimicrobial 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
    • $29.99
    • Interface is easy to use, includes universal search and is now lightning fast.
    • Detailed coverage of pathogen topics and abx, not just drug recommendations.   
    • Economical considering prices of fully optioned drug guides and medical references.
    • Includes numerous calculators, sections on prevention, prophylaxis and vaccines.
  • Dislikes
    • Font a bit challenging to read on some sections.
    • May not be detailed enough for providers used to UpToDate and Dynamed.
    • Some sections simply include hyperlinks to web resources that are not optimized for mobile.
  • Overall

    The Sanford Guide to Antimicrobial Therapy is an outstanding infectious diseases app that has continued to improve over the years. Although I personally still slightly favor the Hopkin’s Guide, the latest version of Sanford really gives it a run for the money. You cannot go wrong with either of these guides. Every provider who prescribes antimicrobials should have one of these guides.

  • Overall Score
  • User Interface

    Simple to use interface with universal search with easy to create bookmarks. Now lightning fast too!

  • Multimedia Usage

    Extensive hyperlinking within the app between pathogens and antimicrobials with links to key references and guidelines. Includes extensive “Tools” section with numerous calculators.

  • Price

    App is $29.99 which may be too steep for providers with full versions of LexiComp or UpToDate. I find the dedicated app is worth it for the authoritative recommendations and ease of use.

  • Real World Applicability

    I find this app (or Hopkins Abx Guide) indispensible when prescribing antimicrobials in clinic and on the wards.

  • Device Used For Review

    iPhone 6S running iOS 9.1

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