How Useful Are Medical Reference Apps?

How often do you refer to your smart device for important information? More than 5 times a day? I’m continually reaching for my iPhone or iPad throughout the day to access and store some very important information. Did you know the App Store has medical reference applications which give you access to a lot of great information regarding health and wellness?

Our friends over at MobiSystems give you access to a lot of premium applications and their medical reference applications have a lot of helpful information too. I’ve had three of their applications on my iOS devices for a few months now and I will share with you how effective they are for me.

Before I start, let’s make sure these applications are used responsibly. I’m not a healthcare professional in any way, shape, or form. The opinions expressed in this review are just that, opinions. Any and all questions or concerns about your health should be discussed with a healthcare professional.

Nurse’s Pocket Drug Guide 2015

npdg-screenshotI’m sure all of us have filled a prescription over the course of our lives. The older we get, the more medication some of us need. The amount of information you have access to with the Nurse’s Pocket Drug Guide (NPDG) is amazing. Quickly and easily search for name brand drugs as well as generics.

You’ll enjoy detailed information about each prescription drug in NPDG. With NPDG you’re able to see possible side effects, drug interactions, dosage and dispensary amounts.

One of the great things about NPDG is you don’t need to be a medical professional to benefit from this information. It’s always a good idea to double-check any new medication with any current medications you’re taking. Do you worry about aging family members and their list of medications? Easily double-check their medications to ensure they’re safe to use together.

Medical students could use NPDG during, and after, the education process. Medical professionals I spoke with remember using a pocket handbook while in school, but tomorrows medical professionals will have faster access to the same information. With our smartphones readily available these days, NPDG gives you instant access to drug information at a moments notice. It’s a great way to aid in patient safety while learning.

Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary

dorlands-illustrated-medical-dictionary-screenshotI’m going to be honest with you, I was sort of lost when I first opened Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary (DIMD). Since I’m not a medical professional or student, the list of items available for users to search was a bit overwhelming.

For example, I did a search for heart disease and it produced a list of selectable information. Nearly all of the items provided the definition and that was it. The word “Disease” had a link associated with nearly all of them, so I decided to see where this led me. Here I found a long list of diseases to learn more about. The “Illustrated” part of the title really wasn’t present yet in my experience though.

Eventually I found an illustration for information regarding cystic fibrosis. The image available for cystic fibrosis showed a CT scan of progressive massive fibrosis. Truth told, I’m not entirely sure what I was viewing, but I believe an image like this would be most helpful for any healthcare professional seeking information about cystic fibrosis.

Further investigation revealed more illustrations among different medical terms. I can’t speak to exactly how helpful they are for healthcare professionals, but I know for my full-time job (aviation) I prefer any illustrations or video to help explain something complex or new.

With that in mind, students in the medical field will have a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips with DIMD. This handy dictionary is filled with tremendous amounts of information which you can quickly recall in mere seconds. Another great thing students can use this for is looking up medical terms with the camera on their device. Studying just got a whole lot easier! Simply pick up your iOS device and look up a word right out of a textbook or manual! Definitions are available in an instant with this feature so you never get off track.

Quick Medical Diagnosis & Treatment

quick-medical-diagnosis-treatment-screenshotOf the three medical reference applications mentioned here, the Quick Medical Diagnosis & Treatment (QMDT) application is by far the most informative. Much like DIMD, there is a lot of information to digest. I found QMDT to be more informative though.

What I like about QMDT is the in-depth information it provides. Take for example migraine headaches. Users have access to lots of information to see if they’re possibly suffering from migraines. Also, users can see what are possible symptoms and signs of migraines to further investigate whether or not they’re suffering from this ailment. And lastly, they can see what treatments are available, if any.

Medications available for treatment are listed in QMDT too. If you also have NPDG it’s easy to check the side-effects and drug interactions to see if it’s safe to take certain medications. Armed with this medical reference application you have access to information you can refer to during or after any doctor appointments.

Medical professionals, especially medical students, would benefit from having access to this information too. With quick and easy access to such a vast amount of information, it’s hard to not have this in your arsenal.

Medical Professional Opinions

During our review MobiSystems allowed me to give medical professionals access to these applications so we could get their overall impression. It’s important to hear from those in the industry to get their opinions as well. Prior to reading their comments I completed my review. Next, I looked over their answers to see how they compared to my own.

One common theme I recognized from those surveyed was the information provided is adequate, but is available to find through a quick Google search too. Although you still must sift through results, most medical professionals already know where to find reputable information.

Search and navigation functions were relatively easy to use for searching their extensive databases. One medical professional surveyed felt the database was adequate, but the level of information was more appropriate for a medical student versus a physician.

Finally, over 75 percent of those we surveyed found the price tag of $49.99 for one application, Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary, to be too expensive. Each stated how a Google search would give them the same information. Also, a lot of medical schools already provide students with applications for free through their library.

Overall, our respondents gave these three applications a 2.5 out of 5. One thing they all agree on was these applications are not the be-all, end-all when it comes to an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment. So with that in mind, one should always seek medical advice if they’re concerned about their health since an application won’t give you all the answers.

Overall Impression

These three medical reference applications feature beneficial information for patients and medical professionals. Having instant access to this information is invaluable. One would argue a quick Google search would provide you with the same information. I 100 percent agree with you. Why having these applications is better than a Google search, as a non-medical professional, is you don’t have to sift through the results from many different sources. You get access to the information you need from one of three applications, which saves you time.

Although I’m not medical professional, I find these medical reference applications to be helpful. However, I found the vast amount of information overwhelming at times. If the information is not something I’m seeking out, it just feels like there is too much to sift through. Thankfully the search function within these applications are extremely helpful to narrow down the results as you input each character.

Anyone who needs quick access to medical related information will benefit from having any of these applications. Medical students should definitely look at adding these to their iOS device to have quick access to great health information if their institution doesn’t already give them access to similar applications. As for nurses and physicians, you probably could take or leave having them on your iOS device.

Review Overview

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About Author

Jeremy McGinty

Jeremy McGinty is an iOS expert and has written over 350 articles relating to Apple and their products over the past two years. Writing about iPhones, iPads, and anything relating to Apple is what Jeremy does in his free time and you’re going to love reading how he’s a normal guy just like you. Jeremy is the most approachable person you’ll ever meet and you should try it out for yourself, send him a message here!

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