Downloads on the Downlow: Five More Life-Saving Apps for Med School, Residency, and Beyond

  • /Reviewed by: Amy Rontal, MD
  • In my last post, I listed five apps that helped me excel throughout both med school as well as residency  and promised there would be more on the way. Without further ado, here are five additional apps that saved me in med school and beyond.

    Disclaimer: Again, the apps listed below are the ones I’ve grown to love, but there are certainly others out there covering similar things. And while the app companies still aren’t paying me for endorsements, to all those Silicon Valley moneybags out there, I’m still open to it if you’re reading this!!!

    1. Uptodate

    What is it: App version of the ever popular evidence-based clinical medicine reference

    Cost: $195/year (check if your medical school has a subscription)

    Why it’s awesome:

    If you have never used Uptodate, you’re missing out. It has everything from advanced pathophysiology of diseases to diagnosis/treatment algorithms and everything in between. The best part of it is that everything’s evidence-based with current practice guidelines. This service sells itself… but if you didn’t know it had an app, it’s time to download it!

    2. Medscape

    What is it: Point of care clinical reference for medical conditions

    Cost: FREE!

    Why it’s awesome:

    This is an app I go to when I want easy-to-digest information about a disease, whether it be differentials, diagnostic workup, complications, treatments, etc. It’s an easily readable point of care reference that allows you as a medical professional to quickly brush up on any condition.  It isn’t as in depth or advanced as Uptodate, but it serves its own purpose.

    3. Visual Dx

    What is it: Clinical reference with high res pictures.

    Cost: Subscription (students) $19.99/mo, $199.99/yr

    Why it’s awesome:

    There are a ton of apps that assist clinical decision-making and help us come up with a differential diagnosis, but this is the only one that has accompanying pictures demonstrating disease progression. It’s amazing for learning and for primary care as well. I unfortunately lost access to this after medical school, but it’s something to ask your current institution about. If you have access to it: TAKE IT!

    4. Canopy Speak

    What is it:  Language Translation specifically for Medicine

    Cost: FREE!

    Why it’s awesome:

    It literally has a million languages. I use it mostly for Spanish; it organizes the phrases by topics that make sense in the context of a medical interview (such as by chief complaint). Furthermore, it doesn’t just give you the whole phrase, it will say the phrase for you and give yes or no questions. If that wasn’t enough, it allows you to program phone numbers for language translator lines and even offers its own translator lines. While this doesn’t replace a certified translator, it can really help you out when you’re waiting or just have a few questions.

    5. Journal Club

    What is it: An archive of landmark studies that guide evidence based medicine

    Cost: $6.99

    Why it’s awesome:

    In their own words: it’s the CliffsNotes for medical research, and I agree! This app offers easily digestible breakdowns of every part of a landmark paper as well as criticisms/limitations and ultimate recommendations that have been derived from that paper. It’s an amazing tool to use for presentations as a medical student, or to keep up with the research about various topics without reading a million pages.

    This list is by no means exhaustive of amazing apps for medical students – I could easily have an “App of the week” column (now there’s an idea) – but these are the ones that have stuck around on my phone, even through those cutthroat times when I can’t take photos because I’ve run out of digital space. I mean it when I say I’d delete Taylor Swift’s 1989 off my phone before these apps… and if you knew me, you’d understand the weight of that statement. So with that, go forth and conquer the app store!

    MST Tip: You can also try our IM flashcard deck on the Memorang app!