Whether you practice outpatient or inpatient medicine, abnormal labs are a common medical issue. Having just finished a week on the medicine service followed by several nights of call, it was not uncommon to have to “solve” some mysteries regarding abnormal labs. Why does that patient have hyponatremia? How do you correct hypercalcemia in a symptomatic patient? What are the EKG abnormalities seen with hypo/hyperkalemia? What is the cause of this patient’s acute kidney injury (AKI)?

Many hospitalist and seasoned senior residents have these medical conundrums down, but many still struggle to come up with an expansive differential especially at 03:00 in the morning. iLabsDDx is an app designed by Dr Adam Wilkes, MD at the Icahn School of Medicine, Mt. Sinai in New York City. His new medical app is part calculator, part tutorial, part differential diagnosis list for common electrolyte abnormalities, acid-base disorders, AKI and blood gases. This medical app is ideal for providers in clinic, on the ward, in the ER or ICU who confront these common patient care issues and want a quick reference for “solving the mystery” and providing evidence-based treatment recommendations.

When you open the iLabsDDx app you are asked to enter your profession and medical specialty. Unfortunately, every time you open the app after you have “killed it” you are forced to renter this data. I don’t mind having to agree to the disclaimer each time, but the other information is annoying to have to reenter. Along the bottom are several icons for the primary sections of the app including electrolytes, DKA/HHS, AKI, ABG, and references. Once you enter a section, the app prompts you to enter your patient’s lab data, and then walks you through the algorithm for that abnormality, say hyponatremia. Based on your data input, the app shows you the likely differential diagnoses. You can then click for treatment recommendations. There is also a settings section to change lab value units of measure, app background, and send feedback to the app developer.

Video Review

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Evidence based medicine

The app includes a list of all of the app’s built in equations/calculators and a list of references. Most of the references were from the 1990’s, but some are as recent as 2013. The app comes from a physician developer based at the Icahn School of Medicine, Mt Sinai, New York City.

Who would benefit from this App?

Residents, mid-levels, primary care providers, emergency medicine, internal medicine, any provider who treats patients’ electrolyte abnormalities.

Labs app review

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
    • Numerous lab abnormalities included from hypo/hypernatremia through acute kidney injury.
    • Each section includes multiple diagnostic steps/calculations and differential diagnoses.
    • Helpful treatment recommendations for nearly all sections of the app.
    • Included calculations/equations and references (though many of those seemed a bit dated).
  • Dislikes
    • Interface of app at times is crowded and difficult to read.
    • Some sections lack needed treatment algorithms/details.
    • Annoying registration screen that forces you to reenter your profession/specialty every time.
    • Not available for Android at this time.
  • Overall

    iLabsDDx is a nice addition to the Apple App Store. The app is a one-stop shop for investigating abnormal lab values, acute kidney injury and blood gases. The app is not perfect, with some sections lacking detailed treatment algorithms and some sections are difficult to read/cramped on the iPhone screen. I appreciated the “tutorial” aspects of the app and inclusion of differentials for each lab abnormality.

  • Overall Score
  • User Interface

    Easy to use with minimal practice, but app doesn’t take good advantage of the larger iPhone screens; feels cramped with some difficult to read sections.

  • Multimedia Usage

    No significant multimedia functions outside of the app; however, extensive built in calculators and equations.

  • Price

    App is free.

  • Real World Applicability

    A unique app that attempts to teach while helping providers investigate abnormal lab values, but the app is hindered by its cramped interface.

  • Device Used For Review

    iPhone 6S running iOS 9.2

  • Available for DownloadiPhoneiPad