Medical Reviewer: Jordan P. Roberts, PA-C
MDCalc & VisualDx: Top Medical Apps Compared
If you sometimes feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of CME opportunities out there, you are not alone.
This is the second in our series of CME review & comparison articles. If you missed the first – Audio Digest v BoardVitals – check it out after this.
Today, we’ll compare two extremely impressive clinical reference resources that offer CME at the point of care – VisualDx and MDCalc. These are great options all around, but especially in two particular cases.
First, if your ability to take time off for CME is limited, these apps let you earn CME at the point-of-care, without requiring extra time commitments. Furthermore, both offer as many CME credits as you need for the year or entire recertification cycle.
A great use case for both emerges for those who prefer bite-sized learning opportunities while working through clinical problems.
Both of these medical apps can be integrated into your clinical workflow or used whenever you want outside of work hours.
These are both phenomenal apps, and I don’t think you could go wrong with either one. In case it’s not obvious enough, I really like these two products.
Also, I happen to have both, but one might be better than the other for you.
MDCalc vs VisualDx Quick Comparison
|Earn CME quickly, easily, & at the point of care||yes||yes|
|Unlimited CME credits available||yes||yes|
|Robust clinical decision support||yes||yes|
|Artificial Intelligence powered differential diagnosis generator||no||yes|
|Clinically useful medical calculators for every specialty||yes||no|
|Securely photograph & identify lesions with your smartphone||no||yes|
|Wide range of specialties covered||yes||yes|
|Available Platforms||web, iOS, Android||web, iOS, Android|
|CME with gift card available?||Max $3,000||
No, but special savings
|Free version available?||yes, without CME||no|
|CME Pricing||$199 to $5,450||$499 $399|
MDCalc & VisualDx CME Differences
At first glance, MDCalc and VisualDx clearly have several features in common. However, the core functionality is quite different.
With more than 500 medical calculators logged so far, MDCalc features equations like CHADSVASC, creatinine clearance, light’s criteria, and more.
Additional medical calcs are added regularly, and more than 100 are currently accredited for category 1 CME. More calculators are accredited for CME on a regular basis as well.
VisualDx is a reference source with its roots as a medical image library for dermatologic conditions.
Not only is VisualDx the largest medical image library around, but it is also a comprehensive resource for dozens of specialties outside of dermatology.
The bonus offers have also landed them among the handful of best CME with Amazon gift cards.
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MDCalc is one of the most well-known medical calculator repositories of all time. The fact that they now offer CME makes them even better.
Whether you use it to stratify cardiac risk levels or to better stick to evidence-based medicine, such as deciding if a pediatric mTBI needs a head CT or not, MDCalc is beloved across specialties and clinical settings.
Specialty CME is available for calculators in the following areas:
- Addiction and controlled substances
- Cardiac care
- Domestic and intimate partner violence
- HIV and infectious disease
- Hospice, end-of-life, terminal illness, and palliative care
- Mental and behavioral health
- Pain management
New categories and specialties are becoming eligible to award CME on a regular basis, so it’s worth keeping an eye on if your specialty isn’t eligible yet.
VisualDx is great for dermatologists and dermatology residents, but even better for the rest of us.
Even if you work in a specialty that is not traditionally visual, like psychiatry, VisualDx has more than you might expect.
Every condition you review, symptom you search, or differential you build earns CME.
You can go through practice quizzes, and with Derm Expert, take pictures to identify dermatologic lesions for CME as well. If you weren’t sure, that adds up to a lot of CME fast.
When you purchase a subscription to VisualDx through Modern MedEd, you’ll also save $100 and get DermExpert for free, automatically.
Verdict: MDCalc or VisualDx?
You know the real answer is always “it depends.”
If you find yourself performing a lot of risk stratification or using clinical calculators to help you make a narrow decisions (think to get a head CT or not in pediatric mTBI), then MDCalc is your best bet.
On the other hand, if you want to get better at generating a differential diagnosis, need recommendations or ideas for next steps in the workup, especially in dermatologic cases, then you want VisualDx.
If you still can’t decide or want to check out other clinically-relevant apps, we have you covered.
Otherwise, the only question left is; which will you choose?
Physician CME activities with prepaid card incentives have emerged as an alternative option for those with remaining CME funds expiring soon.
VisualDx CME Disclaimer
*This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the ACCME through the joint providership of Med-IQ and VisualDx.
Med-IQ is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
Med-IQ designates this point of care activity for a maximum of 0.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™
Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.