Medical students, interns, and residents often ask me (via email or in the membership area) which books I recommend for their white coat pocket. But better than recommending books, I would much rather recommend apps for a smart phone or a tablet.
Books, although they have served us well for millenia, have some inconveniences that are easily addressed by apps and ebooks:
- Obviously, there’s weight. You can carry waaaay more reference materials with you on a smart device. It is pretty common for interns & residents to get recurrent headaches from the combination of stress and having too much in their pockets
- Search. You can do the whole search-the-index thing, or flip-through-the-pages-at-random thing, or you can simply search for the term or phrase within the device.
- Bookmarking, highlighting, note taking, etc can all be done right there within the reference apps.
- Dynamic content. Links to related videos, zoom functions, calculators, are only a smidgeon of what can be accomplished within apps.
- Updates. Content in the medical world is coming at us like water through a fire hose. The moment real books go to press, they’re on the verge of being outdated. Apps, ebooks, etc can be updated with the tap of a button (although they’re not always updated… so beware)
There are many more reasons to consider smart devices for your training. In some places, they’re required. And in many, they’re reimbursed. They are that essential.
Anyway, if you saw the title of this post and started reading, then I’m preaching to the choir. Here are some iOS apps & books for the iPad that are great for medical school, internship, and residency:
If you open this blog post on your iPad, these links will send you right to the download page.
MedCalc Pro – although there are other free calculators, I prefer this one. This app has a HUGE ( > 200) selection of relevant formulae, scores, scales and classifications with detailed information and bibliographic references for each formula. Search for equations by name or by keyword. And you can create your own list of favorites for easy reach.
QxMD Medical Calculator – This is way more than just a calculator. It is more like a whole suite of tools in areas such as cardiology, internal medicine, nephrology, general practice, hematology, gastroenterology, emergency medicine, oncology, orthopedics, pulmonology, neurology, neurosurgery, general surgery and obstetrics. Best part though? Totally free.
ePocrates – a great, great service… I wouldn’t have made it through my training without ePocrates (unless I had this next one…) This, for me, was like Google is for searching. Awesome for quickly looking up medications, dosing, interactions, etc. I particularly like the alternative meds being listed. I actually looked smart (a big accomplishment) when I would bring up the fact that a certain herbal med was associated with the very arrhythmia the patient had.
Medscape – rapidly becoming better than ePocrates. I used to think of Medscape as a website that hurt my eyes and had too many articles that were in every topic but the one I wanted. Well, not only has their website gotten better, but their app is regularly updated and often improved from prior iterations. I wish Medscape was at this stage when I was in training. (If anyone from Medscape is reading this, kudos.)
Radiology 2.0 – This app is pretty good. Not superb, but pretty good. If you’re on-call and admitting someone from the ED and there’s a free moment (yeah, right), this app is good for going over cases of CXR, chest CT, etc. Limited in how many images it can hold though.
DropBox app – an awesome service (& app) for storing files in the cloud. You don’t know stress until you get up to the front of a room full of peers and supervisors and your presentation doesn’t open. If you are doing a morning report, you will want to have a backup… and this is a great way of doing that. (Awesome, but NOT for storing patient data.)
iThoughts HD – mind maps are an awesome way to take notes, organize thoughts, and present information. If you are looking for a mind mapping app, this is it. I use this thing in hospital committees and people think I work magic… I take notes on it during the meeting, and I export those notes as a mind map PDF and an outline in an email to all of the attendees before they leave the meeting. How valuable do you think this is to the institution? To combating corporate inertia? To bettering healthcare? Help others and you will be helped. Serve others with an app like this and you’re an instant super star. (Awesome, but NOT for storing patient data.)
Evernote – Personally, I’m a pack rat. My wife always gets on me to throw away old journals, old textbooks, and old notes. (I still have psych notes from waaay back in the diz-zay). Well, Evernote has saved me. No more taking notes, storing them somewhere, and wondering where I put them. I take notes in Evernote and Booyah! They’re available on all of my devices. (Awesome, but NOT for storing patient data.)
Personally, if I had an iPad during my training, I would have had books on it, rather than carrying them around.
Cecil’s Internal Medicine – very, very, very expensive. But if you’re going to buy a reference book for medicine, I prefer this one over Harrison’s and I prefer having it on my iPad over having it gather dust on my bookshelf.
Lastly, just to be clear… As with all links on the RookieDoc sites, it is possible that I earn a commission if you click through and purchase from these links… but I chose these for how great they are, not for the few cents I might from your click. And although I do have an app business and an iPhone game company, none of the apps presented above are mine.
The RookieDoctor.com membership area is mobile-ready. All of the videos and multimedia content is formatted for your iPad. Take a tour of the members area, here.