The most recent update on this topic is our Mobile Medical Applications Update.
Back in February, I wrote a piece called Medical Applications for iPhones and iPod Touches. Five months later, I thought it would be fun to take a look at the developments these applications have made as well as look for what’s new.
I was inspired to revisit this topic because I found this great website called Timeline: The iPhone as Medical Tool. Apparently, it wasn’t until November of 2008 that Apple created a section for medical apps. By April of 2009, medical applications were the third fastest growing applications out of the 20 categories of Apple’s iTunes store.
Let’s start by just taking a look at the apps available for PubMed, one of the most well known interfaces to the Medline database. Since I’ve already talked about some of them before, this entry will only focus on newly released apps.
SemanticWeb–0.99–This tool is part of SemanticWeb, a project that claims to use artificial intelligence to search for life sciences information. The article tab on this app links to PubMed citations.
Papers–9.99–This application is one I have not tried out, but it is more a way to store articles and papers than a search engine. It does provide access for searching PubMed, Google Scholar, JStor and other databases. There have been mixed reviews as to it’s functionality.
PubMed on Tap Lite–Free–When I last talked about iPhone/iPod touch applications, this app was only available in a 2.99 version called PubMed on Tap. Now, they have a lite version which claims to have all the features of the original, but only returns 5 results per search. I’m not sure how they pick only 5 (date, relevancy, etc.), but it is a nice little app. A search on Mirena pulled up 5 articles all from 2009 with 2 appearing to be on topic. They were not the same top 5 results as when I did the same search in PubMed. I like that this app allows you to add the proxy URL for your institution so that you can access full text articles from journals your library subscribes to. I did have to talk with my IT person to tweak the proxy URL to get it to work, so you may want to ask your librarian for this information.
UCentral–Free with institutional subscription–UCentral contains Medline Journals which should allow you to create searches and recieve alerts for them. You will need to log into your UCentral account and then click on Medline Journals. From this point you can select the journals that you want to look at from their list and add them to “My Medline Journals.” The next time you open the app on your iPhone or iPod Touch, you will need to update it before the journals will show up. I believe this is more of a table of contents service that will only show the most recent issues of these journals. It’s still a nice way to access latest articles.
These aren’t apps, but they are my new favorite tools for accessing PubMed from my iPhone. I’d love it if you would share your favorite ways to access PubMed from your iPhone or other mobile device in our comments section.
This is a search page for Pubmed that’s optimized to mobile devices.
This is a special PICO form optimized for searching Pubmed with a mobile device
And this is the homepage for both.
Another app worth mentioning is…
Pocket First Aid and CPR–3.99–This first aid application has come out from the American Heart Association and was recently reviewed by the Washington Post. One of the features that I found interesting is that this app works a bit like a personal health record since it can store information about a person on it. The other feature I appreciated was that the information is stored on the phone, so a signal is not required to access information.
On The Horizon
There has been a lot of talk online about how Apple is working to create more apps that can turn the iPhone into a monitoring device. You can see some talk of this in the following article Qualcomm SSLS: Wireless + Medicine and how the iPhone ties them together.
There has also been some research on using Smart Phones as clinical tools in areas that are lacking quality medical centers, but do have access to cell phones. Perhaps the iPhone and other similar products will help bring better care to underserved areas. Mobile Phone Based Clinical Microscopy for Global Health Applications.