The Best Sanford Guide Yet

Frequently, trainees ask me why they need a dedicated infectious disease guide. Why can’t they just use a drug guide such as Epocrates or Lexicomp or reference apps such as UpToDate, Dynamed or Essential Evidence Plus? Perhaps they could. Or they would ask, why can’t they just use a paper version like the old paper Sanford in their white coat they have been carrying around? 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. The problem with the paper guide should be obvious–not getting the frequent digital updates that the app would receive – -just look at the content in a 2019 versus 2020 Sanford Guide regarding COVID-19!

So for years, I have been recommending the either the outstanding Johns Hopkins ABX Guide or the equally excellent Sanford Guide. Due mostly to interface preference, I would give a slight thumbs up to Hopkins over Sanford as the infectious disease app of choice. However, over the intervening years, the Sanford app has improved its “load time” and undergone several interface changes. In April 2020, the “look” of the Sanford Guide apps was standardized and in my opinion is the best looking version yet. Not only skin deep, the app interface is better in nearly every way. The outstanding content certainly hasn’t changed, just is even quicker and easier to access. 

Evidence-based medicine

The Sanford Guide to Antimicrobial Therapy (2020) has been the authority in infectious disease prescribing for decades. The app contains the expert guidelines from the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). The app version of Sanford is outstanding and highly preferable to the paper version of the Guide. The app contains numerous hyperlinks to journal articles, websites like the CDC, etc. as references for its recommendations. During the pandemic, it has an extensive section on COVID-19 and links to numerous related resources and guidelines.


What providers would benefit from this App?

Students, residents, mid-levels, primary care providers, EM/Urgent Care, hospitalists, nurses, any provider who cares for patients with infectious diseases.



o $29.99


  • Interface is faster than ever, easier to use with the newer design and still includes universal search, notes and bookmarks–now with cloud support across devices
  • Detailed coverage of pathogen topics and abx not just drug recommendations with numerous calculators, sections on prevention, prophylaxis and vaccines
  • Available for Android


  • “Content” subsections not as detailed as previous “Quick Jumps” for some topics
  • Topic content may not be detailed enough for those used to UpToDate and Dynamed
  • Some tables and graphics not optimized for mobile


The Sanford Guide to Antimicrobial Therapy remains an outstanding infectious diseases app that has continued to improve over the years. The latest 2020 facelift has further improved it and puts it on a level footing with the Hopkin’s Guide. You cannot go wrong with either of these guides. Every provider who prescribes antimicrobials should have one (or both) of these guides.

Overall Score

o 4.5 stars

User Interface

o 4.5 stars

The new interface is mostly an improvement. Remains easy to use and lightning fast (esp the hyperlinks to PubMed abstracts). Universal search and bookmarks work well. I will miss the quick jumps to subsections of topics that in many cases now requires you to go to “Specific Topics” and search from there.

Multimedia Usage

o 5.0 stars

Extensive hyperlinking within the app between pathogens and antimicrobials with links to key references, guidelines, as well as numerous references with links to PubMed. Includes an extensive “Tools” section with numerous calculators, high-quality tables and graphics.


o 4.0 stars

App is $29.99 which may be too steep for providers with full versions of LexiComp or UpToDate. But the price has remained the same for years now, and it more than pays for itself for the authoritative recommendations, ease of use, and continuous updates throughout the year (unlike the paper version).

Real-World Applicability

o 5.0 stars

The Sanford Guide (or Hopkins Abx Guide) is a truly indispensable app for any provider who prescribes antimicrobials in the clinic, ER/Urgent Care, or on the wards/ICU. 


Device Used For Review

o iPhone 11 Pro running iOS 13.6    


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.