WHO MEC App Brings the MEC Wheel to POC Devices, But There Are Better Options

Discussions about contraception options and prescriptions and procedures for contraception are some of the most important conversations during well-woman exams. From preconception counseling to prescribing oral contraceptives to intrauterine device (IUD) insertion to consults for sterility procedures, not a day goes by in my practice that I don’t perform one of the above interventions for my patients. Many patients already have a pretty good idea of what they want before they enter the office for these visits, but is it the best/safest option for that particular patient? How do providers navigate myriad indications/contraindications for each unique patient encounter. My previous go-to sources included the excellent pocketbook called Managing Contraception (not available as an app), the CDC’s Contraception app, and, most recently, Dr. Steinberg’s outstanding Contraception app. Recently, the World Health Organization put out their own contraception app based on their 2015 Medical Eligibility for Contraception 5th Edition document and MEC Wheel. This new app takes a similar approach to the CDC app and guides users to the “best” contraceptive options based on patient factors such as age, comorbidities such as breast cancer, diabetes, HIV, etc.

Clinical Scenario

You are a new intern starting your month-long rotation in the OB/GYN clinic. You are surprised to see how many “well-woman exams/annual visits” are on your schedule today. Your attending makes it clear to you that contraception surveillance and discussion of contraception options are critical for many of these visits. Your first patient wants to know what are her best options for contraception. She is 36-years-old and is interested in birth control pills. You inquire about her past medical history, and she reveals she has had one prior pulmonary embolism nine months ago.  Your next patient also is interested in contraception options and has a history of uterine fibroids. What contraceptive options would you recommend? The WHO MEC app will help you with these decisions.

Evidence-based medicine

The WHO MEC app contains evidence and expert opinion from the World Health Organization’s 2015 document and MEC Wheel incorporating the 5th edition of the document. Although no hyperlinks/true references are included in the app, the WHO MEC evidence and references are available on their website.

What providers would benefit from this App?

Students, residents, mid-levels, family medicine, ob/gyn, emergency medicine, and any provider who prescribes contraception.


  • Free


  • App provides an easy-to-follow algorithm for contraception options based on patient factors
  • Nice graphics on the effectiveness of different contraceptive methods
  • Available for Android



  • Some screens in the app seem redundant
  • Lacks information on contraception counseling
  • Lacks refined level of detail on each contraceptive method found in CDC app


The new WHO MEC app brings their 2015 MEC Wheel to point-of-care devices. The app is free, which makes it attractive. However, the CDC MEC app provides much more details about each contraceptive method than the WHO app. The WHO app is also not as robust as Dr. Steinberg’s Contraception app.


Overall Score

  • 4.0 stars


User Interface

  • 4.0 stars

Interface is intuitive if not a touch repetitive, but provides easy to follow recommendations.


Multimedia Usage

  • 3.0 stars

Easy-to-use app, but no significant multimedia function or links currently.   



  • 5 stars

App is free!


Real-World Applicability

  • 4.0 stars

A good app for students, residents, primary care, OB/GYN and emergency physicians or anyone who prescribes contraception. However, the CDC MEC App provides much more information for those in the U.S., as does Dr. Steinberg’s Contraception app. Those outside of the U.S. should definitely consider this free app.

Device Used For Review

  • iPhone 8 running iOS 12.1

Available for Download for iPhone, iPad, and Android.

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.