Many of us in Family Medicine practice full scope including obstetrics and urgent/emergent care. This is one of the most rewarding aspects of the specialty, but also one of the most challenging with very unpredictable hours and significant medical legal risk. Many other primary care providers provide outpatient prenatal care and work in emergency rooms across the country. In fact a 2015 Robert Graham Center paper found that family physicians submitted nearly 12 percent of the 15 million urban emergency department claims in 2012. Family physicians who provide obstetrics, newborn care, and emergency/urgent care need evidence-based mobile resources that they can quickly access or review between patients. Routine vaginal deliveries can quickly deteriorate into one of many frightening obstetrical emergencies including cord prolapse, placental abruption, pre-eclampsia/eclampsia, amniotic fluid embolism, operative vaginal delivery, uterine rupture, uterine inversion, shoulder dystocia, and postpartum hemorrhage (PPH).

Many family physicians, and even some obstetricians and midwives, have completed the outstanding Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics (ALSO) course. This two day course covers many of the above emergencies. Unfortunately, ALSO has no medical app, but rather good, but not great, pocket cards. Here on iMedicalApps we have reviewed other Ob/Gyn apps that include some information on OB emergencies. One of my perennial favorites has been the excellent combination app by Dr Mark Brancel, PrenatalOB/UrgentOB/NewbornCare. Dr Brancel also had guides for Newborn Primary Care, Orthopedic Trauma, Orthopedic Anatomy and Urgent Care Medicine. Previously, these guides were all available as separate apps, combo apps or could be purchased as physical pocket cards. For 2016, the Brancel Medical Guides are no longer available as dedicated apps, but instead are available only as web apps, Kindle or physical pocket cards. My last working app version was from 2014 so I wanted to try out the new 2016 versions on my device in their newly minted web based format.

Video Review

Evidence based medicine

The Brancel Guides are expert opinion driven guides supported by evidence-based medicine, clinical practice guidelines and standard of care medical practice across the primary care specialties as well as Emergency Medicine and Orthopedics. Digital versions of the guides are updated throughout the year. I could not find any formal references for any of the guides however.

What providers would benefit from this App?

Students, residents, nurses, Family Medicine, Midwives, OB/GYN, Pediatrics, Orthopedics, Emergency Medicine and any provider who performs obstetrics, Orthopedics, Sports Medicine or Emergency Medicine.

Available only as a web app for the 2016 version: Brancel Medical Guides

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
    • Varies by guideline purchased. Prices range from $2.99 each guide/year up to $19.99/year for all access pass to all of the available guides.
    • Perfect to review while waiting for deliveries, emergencies.
    • Content updated annually and appears to follow accepted guidelines/practices.
    • Quality graphics in many of the guides.   
    • Available for Kindle, physical pocket cards in addition to web app.
  • Dislikes
    • Many issues gaining/maintaining access/log in (good customer support though).
    • Web app only, no dedicated app for iOS/Android (available in Kindle and physical pocket cards).
    • The mobile app interface can be difficult to navigate at times.
    • Price seems steep for the all access pass considering no download version/app.
  • Overall

    The content of the Brancel Guides remains as strong as ever, but the format of the 2016 guides as a mobile web site is a huge disappointment (and drawback) compared to the standalone apps. In my facility, the website is blocked by the firewall on my laptop and with poor mobile reception in many parts of the hospital it remains inaccessible on my phone. I may have to go back to purchasing the paper pocket cards again.

  • Overall Score
  • User Interface

    Website was difficult to navigate at times and the layout left room for improvement.

  • Multimedia Usage

    Guides no longer available as dedicated apps. Available as a mobile app, Kindle or paper pocket cards.

  • Price

    Price varies by guideline purchased. Range from $2.99 each/year up to $19.99/year for all access pass.

  • Real World Applicability

    The Brancel Guides are still useable and relevant, but their ease of use at the point-of-care has been significantly hampered this year by the switch to the online only versions.

  • Device Used For Review

    iPhone 6S running iOS 9.3.1