Which Medical Apps Are Worth The Download?

Miranda Morgan, OMS-IV and Dr. J. Eric Fleming, MD

One item that medical students and residents never forget on rounds is their cell phone. There are tons of medical apps out there, but which ones are worth your time? A cursory search of medical apps on an Android or iPhone app store will return an overwhelming amount of results, so we’ve reviewed and narrowed down the highest yields below. 

Core: Clerkships App
The Core: Clerkships app is a must-have for the third-year medical student just starting on the wards. The app offers templates for admissions, consults, and progress notes that will impress any attending. It also includes EKG interpretation, medical algorithm calculators, and even shows how to interpret certain lab data like the CBC fishbone. The interface is clean and easy to quickly reference. The best part? It’s completely free.

Price: Free
Grade: A

2. Epocrates

Epocrates is the modern-day pharmacy pocketbook. You can reference a drug’s class, alternate names, indications, pediatric and adult dosing information, renal and hepatic dosing, interactions, side effects, contraindications, pill ID, etc. within seconds. Known for its medication guide, the app also offers a disease look-up feature as well as BMI and GFR calculators. Epocrates gets an A in our book.

Price: Many medical schools and hospital organizations offer subscriptions. Epocrates Plus: $174.99, Essentials $159.99 
Grade: A 
3. MDCalc

MDCalc is a clinical tool with hundreds of the most commonly used clinical calculators. It provides these calculators in an easy-to-use format that is right at your fingertips. It has tools for clinical decision making (e.g. CHADS2VASc, HAS-BLED), prognosis (e.g. MELD, Child-Pugh, BISAP, Ransons), as well as others. This app is completely free to use, but if you create a user account, you can save favorites for your most commonly used calculators. MDCalc is essential for any specialty and for any level of training.
Price: Free
Grade: A

Journal Club

This app is especially great for medical students but also comes in handy for residents. It puts succinct reviews of the major and landmark articles of internal medicine and most subspecialties. As their description in the app store puts it, it’s the “Cliffnotes for medical research.” This app is can quickly be searched by keyword, specialty, and disease state. Try out Journal Club and look like a rock star with lines like “Per the TRISS study in 2014, using a Hgb transfusion target of 7 had similar to morality to 9, but used 50% less units of blood.”
Price: Free
Grade: A-


Sublux is a relatively new app that was developed by the same creators of the Core: Clerkship app. It breaks down the steps of radiographic interpretation but is limited to X-rays. While it’s brilliant in that regard, we’d like to see other imaging on this app as well (CT or MRI for example). If you have a basic foundation in reading X-rays, then you could probably skip this one. We think that expanding the app beyond X-rays would really take it to the next level and make it a great resource for new and experienced providers alike.

Price: Free
Grade: B-


UpToDate is one of the most popular resources for students, residents, and practicing physicians. This is a peer published and reviewed database that, just as its name implies, is quick to post the most recent information. What many people don’t know is that you can simply register for an account while logged on at your institution and then take it anywhere on your phone. You just have to login from your institution every three months to maintain remote/mobile access. This is a must-have for residents, students, and attendings. Future tip: For attending physicians, UpToDate tracks how much you have used the apps and you can actually claim CME.

Price: Many institutions provide subscriptions. Trainee rate $19.
Grade: A

Honorable mention: Figure 1

Figure 1 is one-of-a-kind in the medical field. It is a crowd-sourced website in which users can share image-based cases. Users can view and discuss interesting cases with the community of thousands of medical community users. It is a great way to pass some time while also learning about rare cases that you may never have the opportunity in person.

Price: Free
Grade: B
Posted by Miranda Morgan on Oct 2, 2018 10:49 PM America/New_York