The most important component of the interaction between physicians and their patients is the physical examination or exam.
A physical examination, also known as a medical examination, clinical examination, or check-up is the process in which a medical professional investigates the patient's body looking for signs of disease.
Along with the medical history, the physical examination helps clinicians in determining the correct diagnosis and devising the treatment plan.
Thanks to the breakthrough of mobile technologies, many healthcare professionals nowadays use mobile apps that assist them during the physical exam. Medical students also use these apps to learn more about the patient's history and examination, as well as to master their decision making and clinical assessment skills.
Here, we list some of the most popular physical examination apps.
Pocket PEx app is an educational app that provides a quick reference for medical students, enabling them to rapidly review the components of a physical exam, with the key aspects highlighted that can be customized depending on the clinical circumstances.
The app provides the exam areas as "modules", which include General, Eye, Vital Signs, Head and Neck, and so on, to allow users link together components that make the most sense for a particular situation.
Pocket PEx app is available for Android and iOS for free.
Physical Exam Essentials App
Physical Exams Essentials app is a quick overview of a patient's physical exam key points designed for medical students and junior doctors.
The app provides a list of practical examinations with clinical presentations for 14 different categories that help the users diagnose relevant common pathology.
As been said, Physical Exam Essentials app is an overview resource, rather than a comprehensive medical reference, which is more suitable for medical students than seasoned health professionals.
The app is available for iOS and Android for the price of $2.99.
Prognosis: Your Diagnosis app works as clinical case simulation tool for physicians, medical students, nurses, and other healthcare providers who like to challenge their clinical knowledge casually from time to time.
The app contains a series of engaging and interactive clinical cases with a purpose to test the decision making and clinical assessment skills of the users.
The case presentations are based on real-life patients and have been assessed and reviewed by an editorial panel of more than 130 specialists covering over 30 medical and surgical disciplines. There are over 150 clinical cases in the app, and new cases are added on a weekly basis.
Prognosis: Your Diagnosis app is available for free on Android and iOS.
Resuscitation! app is a virtual patient simulator that provides users with case presentations so they can take a history, perform a physical exam, develop a differential diagnosis and administer therapy to treat the patient’s underlying problem. Users can place the patient on a monitor, start IV's, administer medications, perform procedures, and much more.
Cases cover topics such as emergency medicine, EMS/Paramedic, gynecology, pediatrics, and more.
Resuscitation! app is a very technical medical simulator which may be too advanced for users who don't have medical or clinical experience.
The app is available for Android and iOS for free, however, users may purchase additional cases.
History & Physical Exam pocketcards App
History & Physical Exam pocketcards app is a multifunctional resource for the physicians and students.
It provides a complete handy tool to use in the clinical set-up, comprehensive coverage of the patient's history and examination, and detailed checklists for the physical exam and the review of all body systems.
The app also allows users to set a classic view of an H&P pocket card for a full history and physical exam reference.
The good things about the History & Physical Exam pocketcards app are its easy-to-use interface and a solid reference, especially for cardiovascular and pulmonary exams.
The downside is the lack of interactivity which would be ideal for this type of the app.
History & Physical Exam pocketcards app is available for iOS for $6.99 and Android for $4.99.
Bates' Pocket Guide to Physical Examination App
The Bates' Pocket Guide to Physical Examination and History is one of the best-known resources for learning the history taking and physical exam skills.
It is also available for mobile devices thanks to several apps that brought this guide to smartphones and tablets.
One of the most used apps is the one developed by Inkling, which is basically a mobile version of Bates' ebook developed for iOS, Mac, and PC. Android users can try Unbound's version of this guide.
While the app is certainly useful for reviewing or learning physical examination skills, its price of $54.99 may put some users off.
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QuickEM app is a rapid bedside reference tool that includes the differential diagnosis, history, physical exam, tests, and treatment recommendations for over 50 of the most common chief complaints present to the emergency room.
The app is intended for medical students and interns with an aim to help them get an idea of the differential, initial workup, and the thought process in the ER setting.
The app also features over 30 most useful clinical decision rules in the ER, as well as tips for medical students and interns, from how to 'rock' their EM rotation, to drug doses and recommended learning resources.
QuickEM app is available for free on Android and iOS devices.
CORE - Clinical ORthopedic Exam App
CORE app, which is an abbreviation of Clinical ORthopedic Exam, is a mobile reference tool for diagnosing musculoskeletal and orthopedic disorders, which provides a robust database of over 400 clinical tests with descriptions on how to perform them, high-quality video demonstrations, diagnostic properties, as well as links to supporting medical references.
The app provides enough evidence-based information which makes it useful for frequent users of the orthopedic exam, from primary care to orthopedics. However, with a price of $39.99, it may not appeal to everyone, especially to medical students to whom the app is mostly intended.