One of my passions is practicing and teaching evidence based medicine (EBM). Many of the reviews I select to write on iMedicalApps include an EBM perspective. Our lists for the top Family Medicine and Internal Medicine medical apps are filled with EBM apps. But where should providers go for EBM stats? For busy primary care providers, applying EBM stats at the point of care is just too difficult. Understanding them, calculating them, and then explaining them to patients in a 20 minute appointment can seem a bridge too far.
Many of the top medical references such as UpToDate, DynamedPlus, Essential Evidence and Medscape contain great EBM information and some include useful stats such as the Number Needed to Treat (NNT) and Number Needed to Harm (NNH). However, these can be time consuming to find and, depending on your subscription/resource, may require an internet/cellular connection. Some current medical calculators such as MdCalc, QxCalculate, MediMath and/or MedCalc (now MedCalx) include some of these basic EBM stats.
One of the most revered EBM textbooks by Straus, et al. challenges providers to apply EBM stats at the point of care. This involves more than just knowing the NNT/NNH for interventions. Providers are challenged to add the Patient Expected Event Rate (PEER) and the Cost of Preventing an Event (COPE) to the NNT/NNH and calculate and use Likelihood Ratios and properly interpret Odds Ratios, Relative Risk and Confidence Intervals. Trying to do this at the point of care without a dedicated medical calculator will likely be a non-starter for many providers. Now there is an app that includes these EBM stats and over 50 total EBM stats calculators all in one place called EBMcalc Statistics.
Video Review of the EBMcalc Statistics medical app:
Evidence based medicine
The EBM stats calculators of this medical app are what really set MedCalc 3000 EMB Stats apart from other medical calculators. Medical apps like QXCalculate are prettier and MedCalx have more calculators, but no medical calculator currently available for mobile devices contains a similar amount of EBM content. However, the medical app only provides short explanations for the included calculators and only certain calculators include references unlike the robust EBM content found in MDCalc.
Who would benefit from the EBMcalc Statistics medical App?
Students, nurses, residents, mid-levels, faculty in any specialty, any provider looking to perform EBM stats on their mobile device.
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.
- Simple to use interface with universal search.
- Includes over 50 different EBM calculators plus unit and dose conversion calculators.
- Many calculators include quality references such as ACP Journal Club.
- Available for Android.
- Lack of or inadequate explanations for many calculators included in app.
- No ability to make favorites or lock certain unit settings in the app.
- References for some but not all calculators and no hyperlinks.
Many providers are intimidated by the statistics of evidence based medicine. EBMcalc Statistics allows providers to calculate these complex statistics at the point of care or while reading the medical literature. No other medical app currently available includes this many EBM stats calculators which is really the primary selling point of this app.
- Overall Score
- User Interface
Good interface design allows for easy data input, but no ability to create favorites and explanations could be expanded for some calculators.
- Multimedia Usage
Medical App has over 50 EBM calculators and includes references to supporting articles for some of them, but no hyperlinks.
Not an unreasonable price, but the $9.99 MedCalc 3000 Complete may be a better bargain.
- Real World Applicability
MedCalc 3000 EBM Stats is currently the most complete EBM calculator available for mobile. However, the useful calculations available in the app such as COPE NNT and PEER NNT/NNH may still not be utilized in a busy primary care practice. This app at least gives providers the tools to try.
- Device Used For Review
iPhone 6S running iOS 10.1.1
- Available for DownloadAndroidiPhoneiPad