Five New Apps for Your Practice and Your Personal Life

Here are five of the latest apps for your practice and your personal life, including three physician-reviewed apps, as featured this month in our sister publication, MDNG magazine.

Here are five of the latest apps for your practice and your personal life, including three physician-reviewed apps, as featured this month in our sister publication, MDNG magazine.

Go Meals

Price: Free

Memory: 16.6MB

Platforms: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad

Average App Store Rating: 3 stars (423 reviews)

Be sure to tell your patients with diabetes about this app, which was designed to help them make smart food decisions and manage blood sugar levels wherever they go. Users of the app can search through a database of nutritional values on thousands of foods and grocery items and dishes from more than 200 popular restaurants. The “Today’s Plate” feature allows users to track their daily food intake by saving information on caloric intake and distribution of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. A restaurant locator finds nearby restaurant locations (more than 175,000) and provides nutritional information on more than 20,000 menu items.

Line\2 — 2 Numbers 1 iPhone

Price: Free (first 30 days, then $9.95/month)

Memory: 5.6MB

Platforms: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad

Average App Store Rating: 3.5 stars (507 ratings)

Do you love your iPhone but can’t stand the poor call quality and signal reception? Then you should look into Line2, the only app that lets iPhone—and iPad and iPod touch—users call using WiFi, 3G, or cellular with the same number. After setting up a Line2 phone number, users can start making calls right away and text as much as they like. Plus, Line2 lets you listen to music, browse the Web, and make calls using your main number while still receiving Line 2 calls and texts. The reviews say it all: “If you have bad AT&T coverage, if you want to save on minutes, if you want extensive control over call settings and features, then Line2 is unquestionably the solution. There’s a free 30-day trial, so you’ve got nothing to lose” and “Best voip app. Great Job developers.”

From Our Physician Reviewers:

Laboratory Gear Medical ~ Lab Values, Differentials & SymptomsPrice: $0.99

Memory: 1.5MB

Platforms: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad

Average App Store Rating: 4.5 stars (13 ratings)

Laboratory Gear Medical, by Med Gears, is a fast and easy-to-use app that includes detailed information on more than 250 common laboratory tests. Lab tests can be found by search, browsing by organ system, and specimen source (blood, urine, CSF, etc.). A favorites list can also be created for commonly reviewed lab tests. Each lab test entry includes information on the reference range (sometimes known as the "normal" range) for the test, a differential diagnosis for test abnormalities, and a description of the utility of the test. Switching from US to SI units is quick and easy.

-- reviewed by Robert Robinson, MD

Calculate (Medical Calculator)

Price: Free

Memory: 4.4MB

Platforms: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad

Average App Store Rating: 3.5 stars (32 ratings)

Developed by a diverse group of medical professionals, Calculate offers physicians a comprehensive calculator database to guide treatment, determine prognoses, stage and classify diseases, and calculate the most commonly used formulas in medical practice. More than 150 calculators and decision support tools are organized into this one application. Select your specialty and disease/condition and choose a calculator to initiate the Question Flow engine, which presents users with questions regarding that calculator. For example, under the “Gastroenterology” tab, there are tabs for “GI Bleed,” “Hepatology,” and “Pancreatitis.” After selecting “Pancreatitis,” the following calculators are displayed: APACHE II, CT Severity Index, and Ranson’s Criteria. Select “APACHE II” and the Calculate application presents questions about all of the parameters of the APACHE II score, calculates answers, and provides the appropriate prognosis and additional information. The interface is simple and intuitive, and the wealth of calculators packed into this one application will appeal to users across a range of specialties. I have downloaded many medical calculators, and I replaced all of them with Calculate.

-- reviewed by Dominic M.J.C. King OMS-IVThe Color Atlas of Family Medicine

Price: $74.99

Memory: 194MB

Platforms: iPhone, iPad

Average App Store Rating: 4.5 stars (10 ratings)

This app offers a case-based way to cover all the basics of family medicine, using an overview approach that has its strengths and weaknesses. Each topic is organized logically, starting with a patient story and photos that illustrate the story, then going into epidemiology, pathophysiology, and diagnosis. From there, the topics cover differential diagnosis and management. Each section is succinct and organized into bullet lists, which makes it easy to go right to the information for which you are looking. The authors have also added active links to great resources for patients and the providers. I appreciate the evidence-based medicine codes that have been added to the management recommendations.

The iTunes description of this app uses two prominent reviews of the BOOK and not the APP; I believe this type of app doesn't have the same impact as a book. Browsing through pages of a book with excellent (full-size) photos and stories simply doesn't compare to the experience of browsing through an iPhone or iPad app with excellent thumbnails that you must click on to fully view. Granted, the more than 1,500 photos are of excellent quality, but when it boils down to sometimes as few as two to five photos per topic, it's not that many. The app allows for search by keyword or browsing by table of contents or topic. Browsing the table of contents shows only six topics under the heart and circulation heading, illustrating this app's weakness. Another weakness is the search function, which does not allow for partial word searches.

This text within the app covers basics, making it suitable for a medical student. It would make for a quick way for a resident to prepare for morning report, for instance. However, I find it too general a reference to rely on in daily practice for a specialist or more seasoned physician. Because all the photos/information resides on your device, no Internet is required to run this app, but it is helpful if you want to follow the links. I hope they keep updating this app with fresh topics and keep the links up to date!

The Color Atlas of Family Medicine provides excellent clinical illustrations and overviews of common family medicine topics, but there aren’t enough topics. However, it's a unique approach and looks especially great on an iPad!

-- reviewed by Yvette Crabtree, MD