iPhone Medical Software Round-Up

So I’ve decided to be productive on the plane trip home and write a review on some of the medical applications for the iPhone (which, by the way, is by far the best mobile platform on the market – in fact, about 90% of this review was written on an iPhone).

I’ll be reviewing five of the more useful applications this go around: Eponyms, DxSaurus, Lab Values, ECG Guide and iMurmur.

Eponyms (http://code.google.com/p/eponyms-touch/) – Medicine loves eponyms. Sure, we could call it reactive arthritis but we’d rather say Reiter’s Syndrome. Maybe it’s an ego thing with doctors, maybe not but that’s the system we have. Eponyms provides an easy-to-use, searchable index of medical eponyms with a description of each. Nothing more, nothing less. Example listing: Ball’s disease – Intracerebral leukocytosis, a potentially fatal complication of acute leukemia (especially AML) when peripheral blast cell count >100,000/uL; leukemic cells capable of invading through endothelium and causing hemorrhage into brain. Condition not generally seen with CLL or CML.

  • Pro: Very complete listing of 1,700+ medical eponyms, each of which includes a description that provides clinically-relevant information
  • Con: Information is incomplete in terms of pathogenesis / pathophysiology (though these may/ may not be clinically relevant)
  • Rating: 5/5
  • Price: Free for students, $1.99 for all others

Diagnosaurus DDx (http://www.unboundmedicine.com/store/iphone) – This is a differential diagnosis software package. The user can choose by disease, organ system or symptom and a list of differential diagnoses and etiologies are provided.

  • Pro: Provides a good list of differential diagnoses for the entered item, fairly comprehensive disease list.
  • Con: No hotlinking between diseases, no explanations provided on the etiology. The differential diagnosis lists are often incomplete and do not provide for the entry of multiple symptoms or organ systems. Thus, the differential diagnosis provided is a “shotgun” approach and needs filtering by an experienced clinician. These oversights must be corrected for this to be a complete software package for its intended purpose.
  • Rating: 2.5/5
  • Price: $0.99

Pocket Lab Values – Quick reference for medical lab values broken up into categories such as cardiology, CSF, drug monitoring, endocrinology, hematology, etc. The program allows for seaches, marking of favorites and a catalog of recent lab views.

  • Pro: Saves recent history of labs viewed. Provides explanations for each of the labs and quick links to Wikipedia, Medline Plus and Google for additional information as well as reference values in US and SI units.
  • Con: Information not as complete as that provided by other sources such as Bakerman’s ABC’s of Interpretive Laboratory Data, only 227 labs listed so not a complete reference.
  • Rating: 4.5/5
  • Price: $2.99

ECG Guide (http://www.QxMD.com) – This is a comprehensive ECG package providing everything from tutorials on ECG Basics to ECG Interpretation with segments, chamber enlargements, conduction and bundle branch blocks, arrhythmias and special pediatric cases.

  • Pro: Excellent explanations with sample ECGs provided for each. The criteria for the diagnosis is clearly spelled out and each ECG abnormality is fully explained in terms of appearance and mV/mm discrepancy. Many conditions are covered such as subtypes of Narrow Complex (Supraventricular) tachyarrhythmias, left/right bundle branch blocks, fascicular blocks, QRS axis assessment, Rotation assessment, Myopericarditis, Brugada Syndrome and many, many more.
  • Con: No quiz function for testing one’s understanding of the material.
  • Rating: 5/5
  • Price: $2.99

iMurmur (http://phalanxdev.com) – This is a great program for learning how to detect and correctly diagnose murmurs. The reference murmur list is long and includes such murmurs as aortic regurgitation, aortic stenosis, atrial septal defect, Austin-Flint murmur, Mitral regurgitation, Paradoxical S2 split and many others. The program includes reference recordings that can be listened to to teach you what the various murmurs sounds like as well as a quiz where a murmur is played and you are asked to make a diagnosis. It’s a great, easy and accurate way to learn your way around heart murmurs with the learning being reinforced with the quiz function. Highly recommended for anyone that needs to learn proper auscultation or for those needing to brush up on their knowledge.

  • Pro: Lots of reference murmurs, quiz function, stable application
  • Con: Requires headphones to listen
  • Rating: 4/5
  • Price: $2.99

See Part 2 of this review


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