WebMD is a comprehensive medical app that is a companion to the WebMD website. Aimed at the general public, users can find information on drugs, medical conditions, and a variety of other medical and lifestyle topics.There are different versions for iPhone and iPad with some additional features available in the iPhone app that are not found on the iPad.
Users of both app versions can look up symptoms, research medical conditions and drugs, review first aid information, and find providers or hospitals with local health listings. The Symptom Checker is used to help a patient determine what condition their symptoms might represent and whether to seek medical treatment.
Symptom Checker is set up in a question and answer format. Users fill out profile information that includes age, gender, and zip code. They select the area of the body in which the problem is occurring. A list of symptoms then pops up for the user to choose.
Once the symptom is selected, a series of questions are generated for the user to answer. A warning based on severity will alert patients of the need of urgent medical treatment.
Answers to the questions lead through a diagnostic algorithm which ultimately generates possible conditions that correspond to the symptoms. Links to additional WebMD content are provided to give the user more information regarding the condition. Users who sign-in may also save conditions to a list to access later.
Information on disorders identified via the Symptom Checker can be accessed upon receiving the possible diagnoses or through a separate section on conditions. Each topic includes typical symptoms, an overview of the disease state, what to expect, statistics on disease incidence, treatment, self-care, provocative factors and risk factors, when to see your provider and what to ask when you do see them, and how the disease is diagnosed. Reference sources are identified at the bottom of the page as well. As with all electronic symptom checkers and concerns for triage accuracy, remind your patients an app is no substitute for an evaluation with a healthcare provider.
The WebMD app also includes a searchable, drug information database.
Drugs are listed alphabetically or users can search either the brand or generic name. Medications include sections on warnings, uses, side effects, precautions, drug interactions, what to do in an overdose or with a missed dose, and photos of the drug. Information is provided in patient language. It’s less information than the patient drug database in the Drugs.com app, but appears adequate for most patients’ needs. The search function is a bit more intuitive than the Drugs.com app for patient drug info.
First Aid and listings for local Healthcare facilities are also included. Users can scroll through topics alphabetically or search for specific information. The search function could be improved with more common terms that patients might use. For example, searching for poison ivy doesn’t locate any results, however, looking through the alphabetical listing, reveals details on poison ivy under Plant Allergy.
Additional features are included in the iPhone app that don’t appear in the iPad app. Walgreens customers can refill prescriptions and setup medication reminders with phone notifications.
Lifestyle tools similar to content on the WebMD site are included in the iPhone app as well. Users can enroll in a health improvement program that aids in tracking health habits, offers health tips and workout recommendations, and a tracker to follow steps, weight, and other data. There is also a Healthy Living section and Food & Recipes section with a searchable recipes database.
- Comprehensive information on medical conditions and drugs
- Easily understandable for patients
- Health improvement info and recipes with mouthwatering photos
- Database searches need better cross-referencing of terms
- The standard worry with any symptom or first-aid reference: patients will fail to seek needed medical help for emergent issues based on advice from the app
- I almost wonder if the app is too much. Users who want the medical advice and drug info may not be so interested in the health and lifestyle features.
The first word that comes to mind with the WebMD app is comprehensive. From the medical and drug information to the ability to refill prescriptions or look up a recipe, the WebMD app includes something for everyone. But is it trying to do too much? The information provided to users appears reliable, but it seems users would have to spend a lot of time on their phones to fully embrace all the features, particularly since the iPhone already includes a step tracker. WebMD is worth recommending to patients who’d like an all-in-one app for medical and drug info even if the lifestyle features aren’t a first priority.
- Overall Score
- User Interface
Easy to use and navigate. Nice graphics and photos included.
- Multimedia Usage
Maps included for health listings and the recipe photos are amazing. Photos of drugs are also helpful.
- Real World Applicability
The medical and drug info is great for lay users, but the lifestyle tools could be split off into a separate app for more specific use.
- Device Used For Review
iPhone 6s and iPad Air 2
- Available for DownloadAndroidiPhoneiPad