Bite-Sized Medical News Emphasizing Evidence-Based Medicine Written by Residents for Students, Residents, and Junior Physicians

People who know me, know that I love evidence-based medicine! Talking about the latest medical evidence and debating if/how/when to apply it to a particular patient at the point of care is what led to my interest in medical apps and my iMedicalApps articles. How to keep up with the medical literature is a challenge. Information Mastery is a concept coined by evidence-based medicine (EBM) experts in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. In the U.S., Information Mastery was championed by Slawson and Shaughnessy who described the vast medical literature as a “jungle” and used the metaphors of “foraging” and “hunting” to navigate that environment. If you wanted to find an answer to a specific question, you needed a “hunting” tool such as UpToDate, Dynamed or Essential Evidence Plus.  If you wanted to just wander through the jungle and see what was new you would use a “foraging” tool such as the DailyPOEM, Prescriber’s Letter, or Journal Watch. In short, hunting tools help you answer clinical questions at the point of care and foraging tools alert you to new information. 

 In the internet age, another skill is also badly needed by medical professionals: information management. How do we manage this information that amounts to thousands of articles per month indexed on Medline?  There are numerous ways, from subscribing to the table of contents of medical journals, to newsletters such as NEJM Journal Watch, Prescriber’s Letter, the Medical Letter, to news websites such as MedPage, to daily emails from the American Medical Association or the American Academy of Family Physicians.

We recently favorably reviewed the excellent Evidence Alerts app from the EBM experts at McMasters University and Dynamed Plus. One older app, but still new to me, is called The Scope. Founded by residents for residents and junior physicians, the Scope app aims to give busy junior physicians the latest and greatest in medical news. The app has tabs along the bottom sorted to Latest, Categories, Archives, and Favorites. Users can link to the original articles/sources and send information to colleagues from within the app. There are no ads or evidence of pharmaceutical funding like that seen in most medical news sites. 

Evidence-based medicine

The app contains the latest medical information across numerous medical specialties and medical categories (such as diet/exercise). The app is well-written, referenced, humorous, and no evidence of bias or pharma funding. However, neither the app nor website have information about the author’s other than it is reportedly written by residents.  

What providers would benefit from this app?

Students, residents, mid-levels, junior physicians (and even seasoned providers likely could enjoy).

Price

o $9.99.

Likes

  • Unbiased, evidence-based content that is updated weekly
  • Archives back to 2016, favorites, global search, categories
  • Available for Android

Dislikes

  • Price seems steep for a medical news app
  • App does not contain any information about the authors/content creators
  • Some bite-sized content may be better served being more detailed

Overall

The Scope is a fantastic source of unbiased information for providers regarding the latest medical news and evidence based content written by resident physicians. The app is best for keeping up with the latest/greatest medical information, and less useful for point of care use, but with the ability to create favorites and sort by categories it is an option. The price is not unreasonable, but there are free options for medical news. 

Overall Score

o 4.5

User Interface

o 4.5

Simple to use interface with abundant content available in the app sorted by Latest, Categories, Archives, and Favorites.

Multimedia Usage

o 4.0 stars

The app updated weekly with new content. The app contains archives back to 2016. Users can link to journal articles/sources, create favorites, and share information. Content requires an internet connection.

Price

o 3.0 stars

$9.99 may be too steep for some, but it is a one-time cost only not a subscription..

Real-World Applicability

o 4.5 stars

The Scope app provides easy to read, current, evidence-based information for physicians in a platform that can be used for both hunting and foraging the medical literature. Although there are many sources of daily/weekly medical news, providers should consider the Scope for its bite-sized morsels of EBM written in plain-language with a helping of humor. The price may be a barrier for some, but the archives go back to 2016 so really alot of content for the money (and they even have a referral plan so some may be able to get the app for no cost).  

Device Used For Review

o iPhone 11 Pro running iOS 14.2

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.