Health

ER Doctors Now Using iPhone Apps for Research and Diagnosis

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by Patricia Salber MD (Emergency Physician and Past President of the California Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians)

I love it that ER docs are using their smart phones as reference books – it is so much better than when I was in the ER - slinking off to the doctor’s room to look up stuff in the PDR or whatever new (or mostly old) Emergency Medicine text books happened to be on the ER book shelves. Once I looked up stuff I couldn’t remember, I could go back to the patient and/or family and look and sound knowledgeable about the topic at hand.

With that as background, I am happy to presents Dr. Ko’s list of “Apps for ER docs”:

  • WikEM - An app from UCLA Harbor Residency with content that includes IV drip concentrations, inital approach to almost every complaint, emergency imaging, and emergency procedures. Per Dr. Ko it is “very easy to read and concise’: Cost free
  • Epocrates - An app to look up drugs, information on pharmacology, use of drugs for pregnancy or lactating women. Best yet…you can use  the pill identification tool so that you can figure out what your patient is talking about when they say, “I am taking a pink pill, a yellow one and a white one.”  Again, this app is free
  • Medscape – this app is from the creators of WebMD. It includes a discussion of  almost every diagnosis with a clinical, diagnostic, and treatment component. Per Dr. Ko, it is like a having free verion of “Up-to-Date” on your iPhone. Hey, this one is also free.
  • Eye Handbook – Opthalmalogists developed this app, but EM physicians will find many of the sections highly relevant, including the Eye Atlas, Testing, and Patient Education, and other great visuals.  BTW, also FREE
  • Eponyns – this one is partcularly hard for me because I was one of those medical students that memorized every bizarre and rare disease that appeared in Harrison’s Textbook of Medicine – a 100 pound text book published in a 6 point font. It is a  bit distressing to learn that I could now talk knowedgeably about von Hipple Lindau disease or Adlers sign wih out ever opening the covers of Harrisons. Bad for us old guys, but very good for the new guys and their patients.  How to look very smart without that weight. Cost? Again, free
  • MedCalc. Be smart, be accurate.  Use MedCalc to calculate CURB 65 scores, fluid repletion for burns, glomerular filtration rates, and look up dermatomes on a body map. Cost: free.
  • Radiology 2.0 – created by a radiologist and a medical student (what a great duo), so that you can quiz yourself on various radiologi presentations of commomnly seen emergency conditions, such as small bowel obstruction, aortic injury, appendicitis and others conditions. Cost? Can you believe it, also free.
  • Diagnosaurus- this is an App that allows you to expand your differential diagnosis list.  Entries are generated by symptom, disease or organ system. Oh my, you have to pay for this one: $O.99
  • PediStat - Pediatric patients usually receive treatments based on age and weight.  That means you have to remember lots of stuff or have a quick way to calculate doses per kilogram based on the weight of the little patinet. This App lets you plug in the weight, length, or Broselow Color and end up with the proper information to resuscitate the patient. You have to pay $2.99 for this one.
  • EMRA Antibiotic Guide 2011.  Created by EM residents, for EM  residents- this App has antibotic recommendations based on organism, diagnosis and organ system. It also have a dosing calcuator to help you get to the right dose at the right time as quickly as possible. This one is really expensive (hahaha):  $9.99.  Geez Louise, I used to pay hundred of dollars for Medical Reference Books so could be sure I always had access to the latest information even though it was very inconvenient and often outdated.

Apps are great, they are here to stay, and they will get better and better.  Let’s hear it for EM Apps. (Sorry Mosby, sorry McGraw Hill, thank you App Developer, the iPhone and the Droid). Yeah, apps, Yeah Dr. Ko. These are indeed the “Top 10 Must Have iPhone App”s for ER docs everywhere.

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Thanks to Sam Ko, MD and the California Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians (Cal/ACEP)  for this list of  iPhone Apps for Emergency Medicine.  The info in this post was first published  in Cal/ACEP January 2011 newsletter:  Lifeline.