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Overall value:
93 pts
UMEM Pearls app is free app for Android and iPhone made by the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Maryland that brings clinical pearls to Emergency Medicine students and residents.

Scores

Cost-in-use
Free
100 pts
App Interface Usability
Simple and straightforward interface
82 pts
Multimedia Usage
The app includes images
94 pts
Real World Usability
This is essential app, especially for Emergency Medicine providers
96 pts

Medical students and residents spend many hours learning to perfect their history taking, physical exam skills, and procedural abilities. However, most educational programs pay little time or attention on learning students and residents on how to properly document all the efforts in the medical record.

Since medical record has become the primary means of communicating with consultants and colleagues, leaving it in chaotic mess could cause a lot of problems, not only in communication.

The medical record serves as the basis for billing and payment of medical services we offered, and can also expose us to liability, so it's essential that medical students and residents learn how to master the art of capturing the written word in medical documentation.

This particularly refers to Emergency Medicine physicians and residents who often don't find it necessary to write their efforts down, because they don't have patients that they follow year by year. Hence the saying among EM staff "that you are only as good as the next patient."

But, in order to become the expert Emergency Medicine physician, able to quickly recognize the ill patient, uncommon presentations or unexpected complications, medical students and residents need years of clinical care, where written word from more experienced colleagues could be of great help.

Most students and residents use evidence-based medicine, but also experience-based medicine embodied in clinical pearls, which remain a popular and important part of medical education, in both verbal and published form.

Clinical pearls are best defined as "small bits of free standing, clinically relevant information based on experience or observation" that "… can be helpful in dealing with clinical problems for which controlled data do not exist."

Since 2007, the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Maryland has been developing useful clinical pearls for Emergency Medicine students and residents. These EM pearls are available via their website, and since 2014 via mobile app for Android and iPhone called UMEM Pearls app that we review today.

Basically, the app contains all the clinical pearls from the website that are updated daily and that contain high yield content with references attached.

Upon opening the app, the automatic syncing would start, which means that the app would try to pull down content for offline viewing, so you should consider using Wi-Fi to avoid any costs.

After syncing is done, you'd be take to the main screen that features several tabs, including Pearls, Favorites, Search and Settings. As you may see, the app is pretty basic and straightforward.

All pearls are listed in Pearls section and the app will notify you of new pearls every day and will give you the opportunity to download them by using sync button.

However, pearls in main section are not listed in alphabetical order or by categories. Also, the app doesn't offer option to filter pearls by these parameters, which could be cumbersome, because users need to scroll down though the huge list.

To circumvent this inconvenience, users can simply use search feature that allows them to search pearls by category, author or keyword. Fortunately, search option works great, but I would still like to see the ability to filter pearls by category on the main screen.

Pearls cover almost every medical category, with the focus on Emergency Medicine, including cardiology, airway management, trauma, orthopedics, critical care, infectious diseases, neurology, vascular disorders and procedures, pediatrics, and many more. 

Pharmacology and therapeutics pearls are also included, as well as those related to medical education. UMEM Peals also cover med-legal issues, and even finances and investing topics.

Pearls cover specific topic and they present information in brief and concise manner. There is lot of "What's the Diagnose" pearls that test the medical knowledge by presenting clinical cases with brief description and images that help users set diagnosis.

If unsure about the condition, users can always tap on Show Answer and get the diagnosis with key points that cover exam steps and treatment options.

All pearls are well-referenced, some of them linking to various resources, from PubMed articles to ACEP, EMDocs or other relevant websites. This makes UMEM Pearls app not only experience-based, but also evidence-based medicine resource. 

UMEM Pearls is amazing app that every Emergency Medicine provider, as well as providers working in urgent care and family medicine should have on their phones. The Department of Emergency Medicine at University of Maryland did amazing job by converting their popular pearls into the mobile app that is essential to every EM provider.

Benefit: Emergency Medicine, Urgent Care and Family Medicine providers, as well as medical students and residents should have UMEM Pearls on their list of the most essential mobile apps

Verdict:

For
  • Huge number of pearls that cover almost every medical category
  • Pearls are regularly updated with notifications about the new content
  • Content is well-referenced
  • Search option allows looking for pearls by category, author or keyword
Against
  • There's no category listing of pearls or option to filter the results right on the main screen

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