One of my most requested “lectures” is to review the top medical apps for primary care providers. I have given the talk hundreds of times and include new apps frequently. One of the apps I ALWAYS include is a dedicated infectious disease guide. Why can’t providers 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. Epocrates was forced to remove their app Bugs + Drugs due to inaccurate data. The embedded drug guides in Epocrates Essentials and LexiComp’s full suite require additional purchases which many providers are unwilling to make. The problem with all-encompassing references such as UpToDate or Dynamed is that the information may take you too long to find unless you are very familiar with the apps.

Last year I reviewed the two most popular (and expensive) dedicated infectious disease guides: Hopkins and Sanford. I made it clear that my preferred guide for years has been Hopkins as I found the Sanford app on older devices slow and clunky.

In 2015, the new and improved Sanford Guide leveled the playing field with Hopkins. My conclusion after reviewing them both back to back was that they were essentially equal: same outstanding up to date data, easy to use interfaces, and same price. Yet it was that same $29.99 price that gets most of the students and residents and even some faculty to pause before downloading. The advantage to carrying either Sanford or Hopkins is the ability to get updates throughout the year. No more out of date paper guides.

Many students and residents have recommended Dr Mark Crislip’s excellent app, Infectious Disease Compendium (IDC), as a worthy alternative to Sanford and Hopkins. They are surprised when I tell them that I downloaded the app on day 1 with my 1st iPhone, but every year I still buy and use the Sanford and Hopkins guides. Did I have any good reason to not use IDC with as much confidence as I use Sanford and Hopkins? I decided to finally write a review of IDC to compare it to the competition.

First a little bit more about the Infection Disease Compendium. This infection disease app is not your typical medical app. It is not sponsored by any drug company or publishing house. It is written exclusively by a board-certified Infectious Disease specialist in Portland, OR. The medical app attempts to bridge the gap between simple drug dosing recommendations and dense textbooks. The writing is authoritative, concise and hilarious.

I literally laughed out loud while getting reacquainted with this excellent guide. Dr Crislip also has a number of other outstanding (and free) offerings from Pusware LLC. including several podcasts and books. Let’s try out Infection Disease Compendium to see it in action.

Video Review of Infection Disease Compendium medical app:

Evidence based medicine

The Infectious Disease Companion (IDC) has been one of the most enjoyable infectious disease guides for thousands of users for many years. The app’s humor, concise writing and outstanding price make it a fan favorite. More importantly, the medical app contains the proper mix of evidence based medicine and expert opinion from a practicing Infectious Disease specialist and numerous links to articles from PubMed and current guidelines from the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). Some areas of the app could benefit from more information or a dedicated section. For example, there is no Zika virus information in the app currently.

What providers would benefit from the Infection Disease Compendium medical app?

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

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.

Infectious Disease Compendium: A Persiflager's Guide

  • Price
    • $5.99 iOS/$2.99 Android.
    • Interface is easy to use and includes universal search.
    • Detailed coverage of bugs, drugs, and diseases not just dosing information.   
    • Hilarious writing!
    • Available for Android.
  • Dislikes
    • May not be as up to date as the competition (sections do not include date of last update).
    • May not be detailed enough for providers used to UpToDate and Dynamed.
    • Some sections require a lot of scrolling and could be improved with better organization/links.
    • Only includes recommendations for adults, no data for children.
  • Overall

    The Infectious Disease Compendium (IDC) medical app is an outstanding infectious diseases guide that continues to give the competition a run for their money.  The combination of humorous, yet authoritative writing, along with an easy to use interface all at a very reasonable price makes the app easy to recommend. Although I personally still favor the Hopkin’s and Sanford Guides primarily for their frequent updates, most providers cannot go wrong with IDC and should check it out.

  • Overall Score
  • User Interface

    Simple to use interface makes it easy to jump between the app’s three primary sections: bugs, drugs, diseases.

  • Multimedia Usage

    Extensive hyperlinking within the medical app between pathogens, diseases, and antimicrobials with links to key references and guidelines. Includes ability to give feedback, change font size, add notes and favorites.

  • Price

    App is $5.99 iOS and only $2.99 Android which is a bargain for providers considering the $29.99 cost of Sanford or Hopkins or who have access to the full versions of LexiComp or UpToDate.

  • Real World Applicability

    For those not wanting to spend money on Sanford or Hopkins, the IDC makes a worthy and witty substitute. My only hesitation is whether or not the data is as up to date as its more expensive competitors.

  • Device Used For Review

    iPhone 6S running iOS 10.0.1

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