Updated 12/9/2010 – There are now 10,275 unique apps (and counting) in the App Store labeled under the "Medical" and "Healthcare & Fitness" categories. This is a significant increase from the 1,544 apps we filtered through while writing last year's version of this article. By popular request, we decided to update our post with the best iPhone and iPad apps for medical students and healthcare professionals.
We followed the same approach as last year: remove non-English apps, omit consumer apps and junk (e.g. “iWeeducation” and “Beauty Tips”), then sort by popularity. We narrowed down a list of 70 apps and sorted them them into 27 categories based on medical specialty and application type. We also identified those that are designed uniquely for the iPad. Overall we are seeing a greater level of sophistication in the features and functionality of mobile medical apps, but we are still disappointed that there is not yet a critical mass of iPhone apps that access the leading electronic health record (EHR) systems.
Without further ado, here is your list of the best medical iPhone and iPad apps for physicians and medical students.
Anesthesiology i-pocketcards – $3.99 – Designed for both the iPhone and the iPad, this app is a clinical reference guide with a compilation of scores, classification, algorithm and dosage information necessary for the Anesthetics environment. It has received a 4-star rating and several high reviews.
Gas Guide: Anesthesia Quick Reference – Free – Over 100 ratings for all versions with an average of 3 stars. This is a quick reference guide intended for students and residents. It provides operative safety checklists, common medications, airway and meds by weight and other anesthesia information.
Anesthesia (Vol 1): PhysicianBoardReview Q&A – $9.99 – Designed for both the iPhone and iPad. Offers 100 questions and answers with detailed explanations and references. Designed to help students, residents, fellows, nurses, assistants and others prepare for board certification, recertification and USMLE.
MedCalc (Medical Calculator) – Free – MedCalc is a free medical calculator, that gives you easy access to a wide array of medical formulas and scores. Includes Detailed information and bibliographic references for each formula. This app has received over 5,077 ratings and has an average of 3.5 stars. According to the developer, it has been downloaded over 700,000 times.
Mediquations Medical Calculator – $4.99 – Developed for both the iPhone and iPad. This is an Apple “Staff Favorite” and has nearly 200 5-star ratings. It includes 229 formulas and scoring tools, provides support for both US and SI units and offers references, detailed information and Pubmed links for each scoring tool. Designed for both the iPhone and iPad.
Drug Infusion – An IV Med Drip Rate Infusion Calculator – $0.99 – An intravenous medication drip rate calculator designed for the ICU nurse or anesthesia provider. Ensures accurate calculations for dose, concentration or IV rate, and offers both weight based and non-weight based calculations with unit conversion flexibility.
Heart Pro – $17.99 – This app has received 54 five-star ratings in the App Store. Intended for students and medical professionals, it uses real 3D and allows users to observe the heart from any angle. You can rotate, cut open and label components of the heart with the stroke of a finger.
CardioMath Tool – Free – A cardiology calculator with over 50 commonly used formulas in cardiovascular medicine. Designed to help physicians, nurses, pharmacists, technologists, technicians, and other health professionals perform day-to-day calculations. 3.5 star rating with several 5-star reviews.
ACC Pocket Guidelines – Free – Over 2,700 ratings in the App Store. From the American College of Cardiology Foundation, this app provides portable reference tools for clinicians. Material is adapted from the full text version of ACC/AHA Practice Guidelines. It also includes the Transthoracic and Transesophageal Echocardiography (TTE/TEE) Appropriateness Criteria Tool with a list of uses of echocardiography and a decision support application to guide physicians in the ordering of SPECT MPI for the detection and risk assessment of coronary artery disease.
Little Dental Drug Book – $9.99 – Designed for the iPhone and iPad, this app from Lexi-Comp is a quick reference resource for medications most commonly used in dental practices. Information includes practice-oriented suggestions made by dental professionals and guidelines on prescription writing and prescription requirements. While the app has only received 11 ratings, 9 of them are 5-star ratings.
Lexi-Dental Complete – $299.99 – Designed for dental professionals and students, this app provides access to Lexi-Comp’s full library of dental resources. It includes all the comprehensive clinical information necessary for fast diagnosis and treatment. For example, a complete pharmacology database of dental-specific information, local anesthetic/vasoconstrictor precautions, 1,000 full color photographs and images and more. Developed for both the iPhone and iPad.
iMCQs in Dermatology – $2.99 – Intended primarily for medical students, this app features 229 multiple choice questions to help you learn dermatology and prepare for exams. Each question has a short explanation or advice with its answer to help you learn. They are based on real life cases and split into unique sections. The app then tracks your score for each section so that you can determine which area needs more attention. Developed for the iPhone and iPad.
Pocket Derm – $0.99 – Distills the field of dermatology to a core group of common skin findings, allowing non-specialists to quickly diagnose dermatologic conditions without a referral or consult. Core features include: 50+ dermatologic diagnoses with definitions and photos, glossary of essential terms and a search by diagnosis or rash characteristics. The app has an average rating of 4 stars.
Epocrates – Free – Arguably the most widely used medical app, Epocrates is a mobile drug reference resource that provides clinical information on thousands of prescriptions and OTC drug products. It features a pill identifier, in-depth formulary information, a drug interaction checker and dozens of calculations (e.g. BMI, GFR). The app has received over 43,000 ratings for all versions and has an average of 3 stars.
Micromedex Drug Information – Free – Contains drug information on over 4,500 search terms, including generic names, common trade names, adult and pediatric dosages, precautions, adverse effects, toxicology and more. Designed for both the iPhone and iPad, the app has received over 400 ratings and has an average of 3.5 stars.
Lexi-Drugs & Lexi-Interact – $119.99 – Designed uniquely for both the iPhone and iPad, this is Lexi-Comp’s most comprehensive drug database. It includes content for all patient populations and clinical specialties, including internal medicine, geriatrics, oncology, psychiatry and more. Lexi-Comp continually monitors the FDA, pharmaceutical industry and other clinical literature to develop timely and unbiased information for healthcare providers. The average rating for all versions is 4.5 stars.
ECG Rhythms – $4.99 – A highly rated app to help you learn and review electrocardiograms. Just like a real ECG monitor, the electrocardiogram waveforms scroll across the screen of your iPhone. You can select from 80 different waveforms then try to identify each as they move across the screen. 39 total ratings with an average of 4 stars.
ECGsource – $1.99 – Developed for medical education and board review, this app helps students learn and interpret electrocardiogram (ECG) waveforms. It includes a full list of searchable ECG diagnoses, over 60 image samples, an ECG quiz and more. This app has an average rating of 4 stars. It is designed uniquely for the iPhone and iPad.
The ECG Guide – $4.99 – The most comprehensive ECG app in the app store, containing up-to-date guideline based content with over 200 illustrative high resolution examples of common and uncommon ECGs.
Paramedic Protocol Provider – $9.99 – Highly rated with an average rating of 4.5 stars. It is a reference utility designed specifically for field emergency personnel. The app provides access to over 200 field treatment protocols and allows you to download protocols from several regions across the country while only paying for the app once. Developed for the iPhone and iPod.
EMS Tracker – Free – Designed for EMS Personnel, this app allows you to record a log of critical events with an accurate timestamp. You can record vitals, interventions and take notes, then email them. The events tab is also customizable, so you can create up to 8 unique event types. 24 ratings with an average of 3.5 stars.
Informed EMS Field Guide – $5.99 – There are two versions of this app: the Advanced Life Support guide and the Basic Life Support guide. The EMS Field Guide is the most widely-used reference in EMS. The app allows you to access critical information including detailed illustrations, assessment information, medications and drug doses. It helps you interpret 12-Lead EKGs and the has the latest CPR and ACLS algorithms from the American Heart Association (AHA).
Eye Handbook – Free – This is a popular app with over 500 ratings. It’s designed for ophthalmologists and other eyecare professionals. It has several features including an ophthalmic calculator, a medication list and a coding section with CPT numbers, ICD-9 codes and E&M codes. For the latest version, the developers teamed with the American Academy of Ophthalmology to share patient education videos and lectures.
EyeChart – Free – A Snellen Eye Chart is an eye chart used by eye care professionals to measure visual acuity. While the classic Snellen chart is typically placed at 20' or 6m, pocket-sized versions such as this one can provide useful screens for rough visual acuity.
Eye Test – $0.99 – A portable testing tool for near visual acuity, color test and visual illusion. It's very useful for people who need to do visual acuity testing routinely.
Medical Terminology Flashcards – $1.99 – This is a high-rated flashcard app with over 30 five-star ratings. The app includes thousands of medical terminology, abbreviation, prefix, and suffix cards to start with. It also allows you to create and save your own. Flashcards can be labeled as “correct” or “incorrect” as you study. Those marked incorrect are automatically sorted into a "Focus On" deck. Some example decks include: musculoskeletal system, cardiovascular system, the digestive system, nervous system and more. Developed for the iPhone and iPad.
Top 200 Drugs Flashcards – $1.99 – Another high-rated flashcard app with 22 five-star ratings and an average of 4.5 stars. This app has over 200 flashcards covering the top 200 most popular drugs. It allows you to edit cards, add your own and tag favorites. Categories of information include: trade name, generic drug name, drug class, schedule classification and others.
Speed Muscles MD and Speed Bones MD – $0.99 – From the same developer, these apps are useful for high school, university or medical school students studying human anatomy. The apps are more than just flashcards; they are games that test your speed and memory of identifying bones and muscles of the body. Speed Bones has over 600 ratings with an average of 3.5 stars; Speed Muscles has over 250 ratings and an average rating of 3.5 stars.
Medical Encyclopedia – Free – This comprehensive and free medical reference is from the University of Maryland Medical Center, one of the nation’s oldest academic medical centers. It contains more than 50,000 pages of in-depth and consumer friendly medical information in both English and Spanish. The latest version has over 6,000 ratings with an average of 3 stars.
Skyscape Medical Resources – Free – A collection of free Medical Information and Decision Support resources for healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, physician assistants, medical students, nursing Students, and others. Developed for the iPhone and iPad. This app has 9900 ratings with an average of 3 stars.
The Merck Manual – Professional Edition – $34.99 – Designed for both the iPhone and iPad. Healthcare professionals have been using the Merck Manual for over 100 years. Information on thousands of diseases, treatments and clinical approaches to each disorder can now be accessed from an iPhone or iPad. The app allows users to access content from anywhere (no Internet connection required), perform full text searches, bookmark favorite topics and record history of topics you have viewed.
ICD 9 – $3.99 – With over 300 5-star ratings, this is the highest-rated ICD-9 app. It features 2011 codes and has data from the latest release on October 1st of 2010. Very handy for physicians, hospitals and clinics that need medical diagnosis coding. The app allows you to view codes, symptoms and categories, perform searches using keywords or codes and bookmark your most commonly used codes.
STAT ICD-9 Coder – $29.99 – Contains the latest set of ICD-9-CM codes (Version 28 Effective October 1, 2010) including hundreds of new diagnosis codes like those for H1N1 influenza, MRSA, headaches and more. Codes can be retrieved by performing a keyword search or sorting by disease classification. This app is also available in a free or “LITE” version so you can try before purchasing. Designed for both the iPhone and iPad. 31 ratings with an average of 3.5 stars.
ICDMeister 2011 – $29.99 – This app made our cut two years in a row. It has several 5-star ratings and was honored by Medical Economics as “Best Programs for your Handheld.” The app includes 2011 ICD-9 codes, so it will expire on October 1st of 2011 when the new 2012 ICD-9 codes take effect. It offers unique features like the ability to search for abbreviations and acronyms, and full words or parts of a word.
Normal Lab Values – $1.99 – Displays normal laboratory values to help medical professionals interpret test results. Reference values are shown in US and SI units. Includes search field to find values quickly. The latest version has 92 ratings with an average of 3 stars.
Pocket Lab Values – $2.99 – The perfect companion for medical students, residents, nurses, and other medical staff while working in a hospital. It provides quick access to common lab values, quick info about a particular lab value, as well has links to sites such as Wikipedia, Google, and MedlinePlus. The latest version has 84 ratings with an average of 4.5 stars
Laboratory Gear Medical ~ Lab Values, Differentials & Symptoms – $1.99 – 19 ratings with an average of 4.5. A Quick pocket tool for medical laboratory tests. Includes over 250 different laboratory tests from most systems (e.g. hematology, immunology), testing sources (e.g. urine samples, amniotic fluid) and lab types (e.g. enzymes, lipids, red blood cells).
AUDIO- Medical Spanish – Free – This app has been downloaded a lot; likely because it is free. It has received 665 ratings with an average of 3 stars. The app is designed to help non-Spanish speaking healthcare professionals understand symptoms of their Spanish speaking patients. It contains over 250 questions, instructions and explanations divided among easy-to-find chapters. Questions are phrased in a yes/no or optional answer format. Developed for both the iPhone and iPad.
Medical Spanish (with audio) – $6.99 – Written by physicians to help you obtain a history, physical, and manage a Spanish speaking patient in nearly any setting. Developed by a Mac and iPhone software engineer to provide you unsurpassed functionality with professional yet eloquent design. Triple reviewed by bilingual South American natives for accuracy and up to date terminology. Developed for both the iPhone and iPad. The app has a high rating of 4 stars from 233 customers.
Pocket Medical Spanish with Audio – $4.99 – This application contains over 400 phrases, each with an audio pronunciation and visual text. You can listen to the phrases to learn the subtle variations in tone and accents, or play the audio pronunciation to communicate with your patient. You can also practice the pronunciation at your own pace and convenience. Patient responds in "Yes-no" answers or commands. All you need to understand are "Sí," (yes) "No," (No) and "No sé" (I don't know).
Mental Illness – Free – Mental Illness is a useful application that discusses the most important topics in mental health. This application is ideal for all medical professionals, medical residents and interns, nurses and medical students.
Psych Drugs – Free – Learn important and useful information about various psychotropic medications such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and anti-anxiety medications. You can use the search box to type a psychotropic medication you are looking for, or you can scroll alphabetically through the list and quickly jump to a letter with an A-Z side panel.
PsychTerms – Free – Contains a rich selection of 1000+ frequently used psychiatric and mental health terms, phrases and definitions — concisely written for quick and easy review. Ideal for all medical and mental health professionals, psychiatric residents, medical students, psychology students, therapists and counselors.
Neuro Toolkit – $2.99 – Designed for both the iPhone and iPad. This app was written by a vascular neurologist. It includes many commonly used neurology/neurosurgery grading scales, including strokes, subarachnoid hemorrhage and AVMs. The app has an average rating of 4 stars.
NeuroMind – Free – This app is designed for medical students and neurological / neurosurgical residents. It has 264 ratings with an average of three stars. The app has several features, including: anatomical pictures, differential diagnosis, WHO Safe Surgery checklist items and relevant score and grading systems.
NEJM This Week – Free – Average rating of 3.5 stars. Provides the latest research, review and editorial opinion articles covering biomedical science and clinical practice. Provides access to articles published online in the last 7 days, including reviews, commentary and case materials. Features weekly audio summaries, four full-text audio reads and four procedure videos of clinical practice articles, streamed directly to your phone.
MedPage Today Mobile – Free – Delivers breaking medical news, audio reports and video reports straight to your phone or iPad. MedPage Today has daily coverage of over 30 specialties and annual coverage of over 60 meetings and symposia. The only service for physicians that provides a clinical perspective on the breaking medical news that their patients are reading.Physicians and other healthcare professionals may also receive Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits at no cost by completing electronic educational programs co-developed by MedPage Today and The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Office of Continuing Medical Education. The app has been rated over 600 times and has an average of 3 stars.
Informed RN Pocket Guide – $9.99 – Gives access to the critical information nurses need, in an easy to use app with rich content, detailed illustrations, and pioneering features. Includes vital assessment information, with updated and expanded sections devoted to cardiovascular, respiratory, neurological, pediatric, OB, GI/GU, and mental health topics. The app has 119 ratings with an average of 3.5 stars.
Nursing Central – $159.95 – Helps nurses and students find detailed information on diseases, tests, drugs, and procedures. The moment a question arises you can consult the up-to-date database of 5,000 drugs, find a definition in the dictionary with more than 60,000 terms, interpret hundreds of lab and diagnostic tests, and discover the latest information on a disease. This app is popular and has nearly 2,500 customer ratings.
NurseTabs – $9.99 – This is a highly rated app for nursing students. It has nearly 40 five-star ratings and an average rating of 4 stars. The app allows nurses and students to search for 340 common diseases and disorders, separated by body system. There are explanations of each of the diseases/disorders and common assessment findings associated with them. It also incorporates potential Nursing Diagnoses and states potential complications for the nurse to consistently evaluate and assess for, associated with each disease/ disorder.
NCCN Guidelines – Free – From the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), this app providers users with access to the complete library of NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines™). You must register first on NCCN.org to get access, but there is no cost for this. NCCN Guidelines are updated on a regular basis and developed through an explicit review of the evidence integrated with expert medical judgment and recommendations by multidisciplinary panels from NCCN Member Institutions.
CCO Oncology inPractice – Free – Designed for both the iPhone and iPad, this app has 50 ratings with an average of 3.5 stars. It is a digital textbook that healthcare professionals to use at the point of care. The information is developed by hematology and oncology expts and is regularly updated to reflect new data. It also allows you to search three other resources, including the Lexi-Comp drug database, PubMed abstracts and links to management guidelines.
Novartis Oncology Medical Information – Free – A highly rated oncology app with 174 ratings and an average of 4.5 stars. This app allows oncologists and hematologists to download standard response documents to many medical inquiries. It includes a search tool to help professionals find the document they are looking for, the ability to email documents to other individuals and submit medical inquiries directly to Novartis through the application.
KneeDecide, ShoulderDecide and SpineDecide – $4.99 – Designed for both the iPhone and iPad, these apps from OrcaMD provide easy access to information, discussion, and current scientifically recommended treatment for common knee, shoulder, neck and back conditions. The apps are intended for educating patients about their issues and conditions. Its aim is to enhance the understanding of common conditions while answering which conditions may require surgical treatment.
CORE – Clinical ORthopedic Exam – $39.99 – Designed for both the iPhone and iPad, this is a highly rated orthopedic app with 40 five-star ratings. It is a reference tool that helps professionals diagnose musculoskeletal and orthopedic disorders. The app provides a database of ~250 clinical tests with descriptions on how to perform them, video demonstrations, diagnostic properties and links to supporting medical references.
Pedi Safe – ICU, OR, ED Medications – $0.99 – This app has received over 60 ratings and has an average of 4 stars. It is a reference tool for nurses, paramedics, physicians and other health care professionals who care for pediatric patients in emergency or critical care settings. It is an airway management and cardiac resuscitation app that helps health care providers identify a patient's weight or Broselow color, then determine weight based dosing, equipment sizes, and normal vital signs.
Pedi STAT – $2.99 – A rapid reference for RNs, paramedics, physicians and other healthcare professionals caring for pediatric patients in the emergency or critical care environment. The latest version has 100 customer ratings with an average of 3.5 stars.
Lexi Pediatric Suite – $179.99 – Designed for the iPhone and iPad, Lexi-Comp’s pediatric app is developed for clinicians involved in pediatric care or for healthcare professionals that require pediatric dosing information. This app includes drug information from: Pediatric Lexi-Drugs, Lexi-Interact, Lexi-Tox, and Lexi-Lab & Diagnostic Procedures. The app has 32 ratings with an average of 4.5 stars.
Point-of-Care Diagnosis Support
Diagnosauras DDX – $0.99 – This reference tool helps healthcare professionals perform differential diagnosis with speed and confidence at the point of care. With Diagnosaurus you can quickly search over 1,000 diagnoses by organ system, symptom, disease or view all entries. A popular app with over 1,000 customer ratings and an average of 3 stars.
Medscape – Free – Features continually updated drug reference tools, specialty-specific medical news and mobile CME, physician & pharmacy directories and more. Save time when making decisions at the point-of-care with our fast and easy-to-use application. Very popular with over 17,000 customer ratings and an average of 3 stars.
Point-of-Care Patient Education
Blausen Human Atlas – $19.99 – The Blausen Human Atlas 2.0 combines 3D medical animations with a cross searchable medical term glossary and detailed still images. For doctors, nurses, students and consumer caregivers, this is the ideal resource for communicating core concepts, right in the palm of your hand and right at point of care.
Radiology 2.0: One Night in the ED – Free – Highly rated with 27 ratings and an average of 4.5 stars. This app is intended for medical students, radiology residents and other physicians that need to know how to interpret images. It is a series of cases that allow users to user to simulate reading CT scans at a PACS workstation. Discussions following each case include labeled images that highlight pathologies and relevant findings. Radiology 2.0 uses stacks of CT images to actually teach the reader how to approach and interpret CT scans.
iRadiology – Free – This app has received nearly 500 ratings. It has an average of 3 stars, but 135 customer ratings give it 5 stars. The app is intended to be a learning tool for medical students and residents. It provides access to over 500 unique images demonstrating the classic radiological findings of a multitude of abnormalities. Users can zoom and scroll around the image in order to identify relevant findings. A heads-up display provides controls to show labels highlighting the diagnostic findings and a short 1-2 paragraph discussion of the findings.
Doximity – Free – Think of Doximity as a private, secure Facebook for doctors. It allows physicians to find and communicate with each other. Data is synced between the web and mobile apps so users will never lose information and always be able to get to it from anywhere. Currently this is the only HIPPA-compliant mobile messaging system for healthcare professionals. The app is receiving high ratings so far with an average of 4.5 stars for the latest version.
MedRef – $0.99 – This easy-to-use medical reference application is ideal for medical students and residents. It includes normal lab values, how to write service notes, and additional reference material that is useful while on the wards and in clinic. The latest version has 70 customer ratings and an average of 3.5 stars.
BoardReview – Free – Busy students can prep for their board exams by reviewing electronic drug information on their iPhone or iPod Touch. nursing students can study electronic nursing review cards to prep for the NCLEX-RN, on their iPhone or iPod Touch so they can test their nursing knowledge anytime, anyplace.
Terminology and Abbreviations
Medical Terminology and Abbreviations Quick Reference – $0.99 – This is one of the highest selling medical terminology apps of all time. It has received over 500 ratings with an average of 3 stars. The developer says the app has been installed 50,000 times. It provides a comprehensive medical dictionary for physicians and students.
Eponyms (for students) – Free – This app has received 4,362 ratings with an average of 3.5 stars across all versions. It allows you to quickly look up the meaning of over 1,700 medical eponyms using full text search or by selecting from one of 28 categories. Users can create a starred list of eponyms to track those they tend to forget. There is also a “learn mode” that will randomly display an eponym from the category you’re visiting. Developed for the iPhone and iPad.
Taber's Medical Dictionary – $49.95 – Contains over 60,000 terms, 1,000 photos and more than 600 Patient Care Statements. Also included are medical abbreviations, symbols and units of measurement, immunization schedules, nursing diagnoses, and more.
A Vet Tool – $6.99 – Developed for the iPhone and iPad, this app is designed specifically for veterinarians, vet technicians and other professionals in the veterinary field. It has received nearly 70 ratings with an average of 4 stars. The app includes a drug formulary with over 650 drugs for small animals, common blood value lab results, a collection of x-ray comparisons and a series of 9 calculators like a conversion calculator and gestation calculator.