12 Essential Point of Care Medical Apps for Physicians, PAs, NPs
Last Updated 24 November 2020
By Jordan P Roberts, PA-C
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Point of Care Medical Apps for Healthcare Professionals
There are two types of healthcare professionals out there. Those who have been stumped by a clinical presentation at the point-of-care, and…liars. This is totally normal and is a part of being human (getting stumped, not lying that is).
It’s also partly because your patient’s disease forgot to read the textbook before showing up. That’s why having certain medical apps at your fingertips is so useful in today’s age, even if you have transitioned to a telemedicine role permanently or temporarily.
That’s why we put together this hand-picked list of medical apps designed for physicians, PAs, NPs, and students to be used at the point-of-care – at the bedside, in the exam room, or even during your Zoom meeting. Some of the apps will even award category 1 CME every time you use them.
In all, there are 12 amazing pieces of technology here. Many are free, but several offer paid versions with additional features, which especially benefits those who want to buy medical apps with their CME allowance.
We’ve also included a few bonus apps that aren’t necessarily made for the point of care, but are so innovative or useful it would feel wrong NOT to include them in this list.
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4 Point of Care Medical Apps That Award CME
MDCalc is a free medical calculator app that you’ve probably used at least once in your career or training already. However, MDCalc is on this list because of the company’s constant innovation, continuous updates, and the new option of various CME subscriptions.
Why purchase a CME subscription if all the calculators and evidence summaries are free? Well for one, you need a subscription to claim category 1 CME, even if you use an otherwise CME-accredited calculator on MDCalc.
The other reason would be more altruistic. That would be your supporting this incredible company that is committed to medical education and FOAMed (free open-access medical education).
MDCalc Point of Care App Summary
VisualDx with DermExpert is easily one of my favorites on this list. It is a user-friendly artificial intelligence-enhanced clinical decision support system, which sounds more intimidating than it is.
App Store Rating
First, let’s address that rating in the app store. My first impression was that the 3.8 star average seems unreasonably low for an app of this caliber.
However, I think the explanation is multifactorial. First, the review count is relatively low for an app with so many downloads. Further, the negative comments are largely several years old from before all the best upgrades and updates rolled out.
Then there are some written by laypeople expecting access, or the grumblings of people who didn’t want to pay for it. Go figure. None of that has been my experience, technically or medically, and I would easily give VisualDx 5 stars.
Features & Use
It’s a fantastic tool that can be used in just about every specialty. Without DermExpert, VisualDx still helps you get even better at formulating your differential diagnosis based on a symptom, chief complaint, or myriad other presenting clinical characteristics. It also takes you through the workup and next steps if you want to be even more sure about your plan.
DermExpert is great for when your dermatology consultant is scheduling 8 weeks out as a favor and 12 weeks for everyone else. It works similarly to the main portion, but instead of typing in a symptom, you take a picture of the lesion with their HIPAA-compliant in-app camera. You’ll then be taken through a few additional steps to further narrow down your differential.
Every differential you build, picture you take, or quiz you play earns you CME. It’s so fast the entire process can be done in front of the patient without ruining your workflow for the day. Besides, your EMR will do that. In fact, clinicians save an average of 26 minutes a day using VisualDx.
VisualDx DermExpert and Health Equity
Furthermore, their 42,000+ image library hosts a diverse range of skin colors and disease variations. That’s a lot better than most dermatologic references, which consist primarily of skin conditions on white skin.
VisualDx Point of Care App Summary
The price of a subscription for this robust database, clinical content, CME, patient handouts, and more is incredibly reasonable if you ask me.
- Platforms: iOS, Android, Desktop, EMR (institutional accounts only)
- Specialties: Internal medicine, dermatology, psychiatry, pharmacology, and literally all the others
- CME: Yes!
- Price: starting at $400/year after a $250 gift card rebate (details below)
VisualDx Special Offer from Modern MedEd
We’ve worked with the team at VisualDx to create a special, limited-time offer just for our readers.
Subscribe to VisualDx with or without DermExpert through one of the unique links on this page and receive a free $250 Amazon gift card. It’s a great way to spend your CME money before it runs out, because this offer is going away on new years day 2021.
Purchase your subscription to VisualDx + DermExpert and claim your free gift card offer here.
2a. Bonus! DosedDaily ENT CME
DosedDaily is not necessarily a point-of-care app, but it’s so amazing I just had to include it here.
It’s a CME subscription that sends you one email per day containing a clinically-relevant ENT question based on the latest evidence-based data. The best part is that you can answer the question right from your email on your phone; one-click gets you CME and MOC, just like that.
Learn more about why it’s a good CME buy in the middle of this pandemic.
- Platforms: email
- General Otolaryngology
- Facial Plastics
- Head & Neck Oncology
- Pediatric Otolaryngology
- CME: 24 credits per year
- Price: Starting at $40/month for limited credits up to $800 for 3 years
PEPID offers a suite of products all in one app for use at the point-of-care by physicians, PAs, NPs, pharmacists, nurses, residents, students, EMTs, and paramedics. They cover several specialties, but their bread and butter is emergency medicine, pediatric emergency medicine, primary care, and pharmacology.
A PEPID subscription starts at $299.95/year for a one year term, with the annual cost decreasing as the length of time increases. You can also purchase access to automatically-awarded category 1 CME whenever you use the app, starting at $169 for a one-year subscription.
PEPID also offers a free two-week trial so you can try before you buy. Available on iOS or Android.
Up-To-Date gets you category 1 CME with every search. You can use it at a computer or on your mobile device, and some of you probably already have access to it through your institution. If not, then it is currently $559 a year for individual physician/PA/NP/pharmacist/nurse subscribers.
There are also options for group discounts if at least one other person will join you. Additionally, you can access a free 30-day trial to see if it’s really a good fit.
They have articles on just about anything you could imagine, with detailed analyses as well as concise summaries, depending on your needs at the time. And because each search comes with potential CME, it is possible to get all the hours and more just from topic searches.
Best of all, it integrates seamlessly with your VisualDx subscription.
3 Free Point of Care Medical Apps (No CME)
According to Thumbroll themselves, the app is “like having a textbook in your pocket.” The truth is that it’s much better than having a textbook in your pocket.
The app seems to be mostly targeted towards residents and early-career clinicians. I enjoyed using it early on in my own career when I was a neurosurgery PA. It was one of the only great digital procedure reference guides that I could find.
WikEM, known as The Global Emergency Medicine Wiki, is the world’s largest open-access emergency medicine reference.
The app is completely free and is available on Android, iOS, and desktop. There is also an open call for medical practitioners to join WikiEM’s contributor community to share your knowledge with the world.
WikEM was brought to you by the OpenEM Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity. If you are feeling generous, you can donate to WikiEM to help make open access to medical knowledge possible.
Epocrates is a free point-of-care app for Android and iOS. Your account includes their drug interaction checker, clinical guidelines, and of course, a complete selection of useful drug monographs.
It also has a useful pill ID, so you’ll know what patients mean when they say, “I take a small blue one and a round white one.”
There is a paid version, Epocrates+, that comes with a few more features, which I imagine could be quite useful in some settings. The downside is the apparent lack of CME for all they do offer.
5 Innovative & Engaging MedEd Apps (+/- CME)
These next apps aren’t necessarily useful for point-of-care conundrums, but you won’t regret downloading them.
Institutions like Mount Sinai Health system, the BMJ, and even yours truly use the platform to share cases and promote medical education. In fact, here are a few cases of ours that went on to be featured by the platform.
FYI; you can learn more about soft tissue tumors like this one with this Masters of Pathology CME program.
2. Doximity Dialer
Doximity Dialer is now a part of the main Doximity app, and it’s one of the most useful day-to-day apps you can download.
Doximity itself it pretty fantastic, but let’s focus on the Dialer. Rather than block your number when calling patients, you can have their caller ID display a number of your choosing (like your office).
Most people (guilty) don’t answer calls they don’t recognize or blocked number because they are usually spam.
However, if you have an important lab result to report, you want your patient to know it’s you and pick up. On the other hand, you may just want them to know you called but don’t have time for a conversation. This is where you use the ‘straight to voicemail’ feature. Brilliant.
This is a screenshot of my actual Dialer, with my old clinic numbers redacted because of course. But the point is those numbers could be literally any valid phone number. You only have to enter it once, because let’s be honest, even you don’t have your office number memorized.
There is also a new Dialer Video feature to help support the use of telemedicine since the United States acts like we’ve never seen a pandemic before.
Best of all, it’s completely free on iOS and Android. The app, I mean; the pandemic is NOT free.
3. Medical Joyworks Suite of Medical Apps
They have also recently released Clinical Odyssey, which will run you $14.99/mo or $149/year after a 7-day free trial.
Clinical Odyssey comes with all the free cases from Prognosis and Clinical Sense as well as exclusive premium cases, a multiple choice question bank, and access to MJW’s physician-moderated discussion board.
4. Board Vitals Question Bank App
Board Vitals makes medical examination and CME question banks and is a leading provider of CME with gift card offers.
They are here not as a point-of-care medical app, but an extremely useful source for (now even more) convenient, quick CME you can earn anywhere.
Their app is new, but very easy to use and packed with tons of great clinical content as well as technically seamless. Purchase your subscription on the Board Vitals website and download the app for Android or iOS.
5. Audio Digest Membership CME
Audio Digest is included here only for their convenient CME. It is most certainly not a point-of-care tool, and the website is more stable than the app in my experience. And by the looks of it above, I’m not alone.
The good news is the iOS version of the app has much better ratings, with 4.7 stars.
However, I still love the app when I’m out and want to listen to CME rather than do whatever it is I’m supposed to be doing. I can download individual lectures or entire playlists ahead of time to save on precious data. That’s worth the (truly) minor glitches in the app to me.