A Guide to GYN Related Infectious Diseases 

Frequently, trainees ask me why they need a dedicated infectious disease guide. Why can’t they just use a drug guide like 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. Witness the removal of the app Bugs + Drugs by Epocrates. This app simply was not accurate. The embedded drug guides in Epocrates Essentials and LexiComp’s full suite are fine but require additional purchases. The issue with the reference apps is that in order to find what you are looking for, you have to dig through excellent but unnecessary text in UpToDate or Dynamed to drill down to the information you need. 

Due to all of these issues, I have always used both the Johns Hopkins ABX Guide and the equally excellent Sanford Guide. I find them essentially “equals” right down to their price of $29.99. For those demanding something cheaper, I have also advocated for the Infectious Disease Compendium by Mark Crislip, an ID physician in Portland, OR. His guide, although not as feature-filled as the others and updated less frequently, is a hilariously written and a relative steal at only $5.99.

An enterprising pathologist, Alexandra Gillespie, MD, has released a GYN-related infectious disease app called, The Bug Guide. She runs a popular path lab/company in the Dallas, TX area called PathAdvantage. This company can turn around virtually any GYN-related lab test from STI testing to Pap testing in 24 hours. The app is intended as a companion of sorts to her lab company operations but can be used standalone as a reference. The app covers topics in a textbook-like way from background and epidemiology to testing and antimicrobial treatment. The app covers the gamut of GYN-related infectious diseases from Aerobic vaginitis to UTIs — but nothing else. The app costs $14.99/year and promises to be updated every two years. 

Evidence-Based Medicine

The Bug Guide contains expert opinion and well-referenced key literature and practice guideline-based information on GYN-related infectious diseases. Each pathogen gets a detailed and its own set of references. The app does not contain any hyperlinks to additional information or links to the references on PubMed. The guide is more comprehensive than some quick references, but not as much as the Hopkins Abx Guide, UpToDate, etc. 

What providers would benefit from this app?

Students, residents, mid-levels, primary care, OB/GYN, any staff provider who provides women’s healthcare.

Price

-$14.99/year with in app subscription to unlock content.

Likes

  • Interface is easy to use, includes universal search
  • Detailed information on specific GYN pathogens and abx not just drug recommendations
  •  Serves a specific need for a GYN ID guide

Dislikes

  • Expensive (relative to the competition), and “bug” keeps wanting you to “restore” your purchase to unlock content
  • Updates only planned every two years
  • App should include more features such as hyperlinks to web resources and/or references

Overall

The Bug Guide is an interesting and well-written guide to GYN related infectious diseases. The app comes from a pathologist who runs a popular path lab in TX. However, at $14.99, the app lacks the comprehensiveness and breadth and the feature set of the somewhat more expensive Sanford and Hopkins Abx Guides ($29.99 each). The app also only has an update cycle currently planned for every two years, which likely will be problematic. For those looking for a cheaper alternative, I strongly recommend the Infectious Disease Companion by Mark Crislip. 

Overall Score

  • 3.5 stars

User Interface

  • 3.5 stars

Simple to use interface with universal search, but no other bells/whistles.

Multimedia Usage

  • 3.0 stars

The app does not contain any hyperlinking or internet-based resources. The app is well-referenced, but none of those are hyperlinked. 

Price

  • 3.0 stars

App is $14.99, which I find is too expensive for the limited number of infectious diseases covered as well as the limited functionality compared with other similar (albeit more expensive) apps.  

Real-World Applicability

  • 3.5 stars

The app certainly has applicability, but at this price, it is difficult to compete/recommend it over Sanford and/or Hopkins Abx Guide, which are truly indispensable. The planned update cycle is also concerning as not being frequent enough for potential literature/guideline changes.

Device Used For Review

-iPhone 11 Pro running iOS 13.2.     

Available for Download for iPhoneiPad, 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.