Most physicians suffer from TMI: Too Much Information! Did you know that Medline indexes over 2,000 articles/day, 1 million scientific articles per year? Did you know that in just the primary care literature, over 8,000 articles are published each month? If it takes 30 min to read an article and critically appraise it and you read continuously for 16 hours/day, you would be 2 months behind in 1 day, 3 months if you stopped to eat! Even more frustrating is that it takes up to 17 years for “new” evidence to be put into practice. The bottom-line is that you simply cannot keep up!

Many of us use “hunting tools” such as UpToDate, Dynamed or Essential Evidence Plus in order to avoid having to search the primary literature. These “hunting tools” allow for quick review of a medical topic and efficient application of patient-oriented evidence at the point of care. For keeping up with the medical literature, some of us use “foraging tools” such as the DailyPOEM, Prescriber’s Letter, Journal Watch, podcasts, journal table of contents, emails and websites such as MedPage and Medscape. In short, hunting tools help you answer clinical questions at the point of care and foraging tools alert you to new information.

Sometimes, providers cannot find the “best evidence” using these tools or want/need to look up a specific article in PubMed or Ovid. Luckily, there are apps for searching PubMed effectively. Previously, we have favorably reviewed journal aggregators such as Read, BrowZine, and Docphin. These apps allow users to input their username/password of the medical institution for full access to journal PDFs, offline storage, favorites, etc. Simpler apps such as PubMed4Health allows for PubMed searches in a variety of formats including the PICO question format. PubMed On Tap allows for PubMed searches and offline storage of free PDFs and access to other articles via EzProxy for medical libraries that utilize that service. I have used PubMed On Tap for years and found it effective (and free) for basic searches. Over the years, apps such as PubMed4Health (free plus PICO search capability) and QxRead (free plus full institutional access) have supplanted PubMed on Tap for me.

Now the makers of the original PubMed on Tap and their big brother app, Bookends (searches additional databases such as Google Scholar, JSTOR and Web of Science), have come out with PubMed On Tap 2. This sequel utilizes a superior PDF formatting process for iOS called PSPDFKit which allows for PDF annotation among other features. However, the sequel requires an in-app purchase to unlock all of its features; searches are limited to 20 results in the free version.

Video Review of the PedMed on Tap 2 medical app:

Login to iMedicalApps in order to view the following video review of PubMed On Tap 2. Registration for iMedicalApps is free.

Evidence based medicine

No doubt that PubMed On Tap 2 contains evidence based medicine as it searches PubMed and PubMed Central. The app allows for institutional access via EzProxy which did not work for either of my institutional libraries; your mileage may vary. Users can save journal PDFs for offline/later use.

What providers would benefit from the PubMed on Tap 2 medical app?

Students, residents, mid-levels, any medical provider who wants to keep up with the medical literature, perform POC PubMed searches, and save PDFs to 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.

  • Price
    • Free to download; requires in-app purchase of $4.99 standard/$1.99 annually Pro for full functionality.
    • Ability to search PubMed at the POC and save PDFs to device.
    • Uses robust PSPDFKit for iOS allowing for annotation, etc.    
    • Can use EzProxy url for institutional library journal access.
  • Dislikes
    • Difficulty using and/or finding EzProxy url’s for several medical libraries.
    • Search limited to 20 results without in-app purchase.
    • Not available for Android.
  • Overall

    PubMed On Tap 2 is a PubMed tool that could replace some providers’ basic use of desktop PubMed searches, especially with its PDF retrieval and storage options. However, the limited search results, without paying for the in-app purchase, and difficulty with EzProxy url’s that I experienced limits my enthusiasm for the app. Finally, other more robust journal aggregators such as Read, BrowZine, and Docphin bring more to the table by allowing greater user specialization and full text journal article retrieval using institutional access username/passwords.

  • Overall Score
  • User Interface

    Basic, but functional, especially with EzProxy access, but searches limited to 20 results without in-app purchase.

  • Multimedia Usage

    Works well if you have an EzProxy url, but would be even better with easier input of institutional username/password for full journal article review.

  • Price

    App is free but limited to 20 results without making the in-app purchase.

  • Real World Applicability

    Better, more robust alternatives exist for the same price or are free such as Qx Read, PubMed4Health, etc. For those with an EZproxy library link, may find PubMed on Tap 2 a worthy addition. Others may want to stick with an alternative or PubMed on Tap 2’s big brother, Bookends. With searches limited to 20 results without making an in-app purchase, I find the real world applicability limited.

  • Device Used For Review

    iPhone 6S running iOS 10.2.1

  • Available for DownloadiPhoneiPad