My Electronic Medical Bag

A quick rundown of the most useful applications in my electronic medical bag.

My residency training begins in about two months, and until then, I am readying myself by rereading critical care books, brushing up on my physical exam skills, and performing osteopathic manipulation on every family member in sight. I am also spending some time consolidating the medical apps on my iPhone. During the past four years, I have amassed more than 50 medical apps. I have found many that have been beneficial and others that were not worth the time. Below, I have listed my eight favorite apps to use for residency training (find more smarthphone reviews in the latest issues of the multiple MDNG editions in the Publications section of

Simply a must have. Combination pharmacopia/medical calculator/differential diagnosis analyzer/and clinical consult, this is the ultimate physician’s peripheral brain.

These specific calculators by Epocrates that are quick and easy to use give valuable information for the treatment and prognosis of medical conditions. The CME application allows users to obtain CME credits for completing learning modules on their device, great when you are not close to a computer and find some downtime (. . . I will have downtime, right?)

Simply put, it contains ALL of the other medical calculations not included in the above applications.

Great for keeping on top of screening and prevention guidelines for cancers, diabetes, osteoporosis, etc. I’ve used several of these kinds of apps and kept this because of its ease of use.

This application was used daily throughout medical school, and I know it will serve a great purpose in residency. Quickly browse through lab tests, organized by organ system, to display normal/critical lab values and additional information about a test. This is a necessary app for the beginning physician.

Clinical ORthopedic Exam (CORE) and NerveWhiz: These two applications are the bread and butter of my musculoskeletal exam. CORE outlines practically every musculoskeletal exam (with videos!) and offers possible pathologies for abnormal exams in addition to giving a statistical analysis of each exam. After using CORE, NerveWhiz allows users to zero in on specific neurologic deficiencies with detailed charts and diagrams. Another must have if you deal with musculoskeletal problems.

For those physicians practiced in using osteopathic manipulation, the OMM Guide is a great quick reference to find specific exam tests and manipulation techniques. Other osteopathic manipulation applications contain videos of the techniques, but they can be pricy, and this one is free.

Again, I have a very large collection of these apps, and I experiment with new apps and replace some old ones almost daily. For those new to the game, so many applications are available that it can be daunting to find the ones that work well with your practice style. The best rule of thumb is to read a lot of reviews and try them out for yourself. Most of the applications are either free or cost no more than a few dollars, so you really aren’t risking much to try them out. Finding a good, usable repertoire of apps takes some time, but when you finally land on the truly great ones, you will immediately be hooked. As I mentioned in previous posts, make sure to cross-reference any material you come across in these apps with your own clinical judgment. Just like medical books, these apps can contain mistakes, and there is no replacement for your own training and instincts. With that being said, these apps can offer a great aid in managing care for your patients, and in keeping up with the ever-changing landscape of medical technology.