There are many mobile apps that medical students and providers use a support when making important clinical decisions, particularly when forming a differential diagnosis.
Many of these apps feature large databases with range of signs, symptoms and conditions that users can browse through using the search tool, and then review results that would help them form diagnosis.
Some of these apps are functional point-of-care tools, while others would only let you scratch the surface of the complex world of differential diagnoses.
We listed some of the most popular DDx apps that healthcare professionals install on their phones, with brief description of each.
Fever, rash and cough are among common complaints seen in both adults and children patients visiting the clinic, ER and inpatient ward. The problem is that these symptoms can present in range of diseases, from mild to those life-threatening.
This is the reason why keeping a broad differential diagnosis is important to medical providers when dealing with just about any complaint, particularly with infectious diseases.
IDdx: Infectious Diseases is free app designed for iPhone and Android to help healthcare providers make difficult decisions regarding infectious diseases.
The app works as a decision support tool aimed to build and limit the differential diagnosis based on key symptoms and epidemiological data that providers enter into the app. The app then provides all symptoms associated with a disease, or all diseases associated with particular symptom.
IDdx: Infectious Diseases app allows users to explore the database of 249 diseases in 15 categories, or to search app by disease name or criteria that include 104 signs and symptoms, 39 epidemiological factors, and 16 regions of the world. This is the app's highlight, because it allows providers to access diseases worldwide, or limit their search just to diseases endemic to the United States.
The content of the app is regularly updated and it's based on actual epidemiological data coming from respected sources.
Physicians often need to consult with other physicians about complex cases and exchange suggestions for potential differentials to consider during the work-up.
The Human Dx Project app is a platform designed for physicians making these consultations about difficult diseases a lot easier. The app is inspired by projects like the Human Genome Project, aiming to create specific algorithms that can create a comprehensive diagnosis based on the most common symptoms present in each case.
Human Dx app enables its users to upload their own cases, as well as to offer their expertise on cases of other users, which are specific to their specialty.
The app is, however, only available to iOS users.
Our score: 85%
Making the right diagnosis is much easier if you can see the image of the condition or symptom, particularly knowing that many conditions can be only identified visually.
Seeing the image of condition or symptom can help healthcare providers make an instant diagnosis by recognizing visual indicators, thus vastly improving patient care.
VisualDx app is made with purpose to help medical providers make differential diagnoses of diseases that could be visually identified based on patient-specific findings and images.
The app is both decision support tool and clinical reference with the database containing around 30,000 images covering more than 1,000 pediatric and adult conditions.
However, VisualDx app focuses mostly on skin diseases, or diseases with dermatologic manifestations.
It's available for Android and iOS on a 30-day free trial. Full version requires subscription that costs $19.99-$29.99/month.
Diagnosaurus DDx once was an integral part of 5-Minute Clinical Consult (5MCC) app, but eventually turned into stand-alone app for Android and iOS devices. It provides allows healthcare professionals with quick access to over 1,000 differential diagnoses sorted by organ system, symptom, or disease.
The app requires $4.99 purchase for full version, but users can download and install the free preview that offer limited feature.
Diagnosaurus DDx app didn't get favorable review from us mostly because it doesn't help providers establish diagnosis based on vague or specific symptoms, yet only aides them "initiate the process" of formulating a differential.
Also, conditions or symptoms pages don't provide detailed information, but only lists hints in form of bullets. The app also lacks better guidance and recommendations on additional tests, or considerations that may help them formulate the differential diagnosis.
All of this doesn't justify its price and necessity of being a stand-alone app. Diagnosaurus DDx app would perhaps work better if it remained a part of its parent 5MCC app.
DDx Teacher App
DDx Teacher app has been developed by the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine. It doesn't only help medical providers make differential diagnosis, but also guides them on how to effectively use a review of symptoms for diagnosis and exam.
The app has simple and clean design that features a list of body systems. After users select appropriate exam, they're provided with a list of questions for each system. Each question divides into further subsections, leading providers towards particular diagnoses.
DDx Teacher app, however, doesn't include any references. Nevertheless, it's still highly functional point of care DDx tool, particularly useful for medical students.
Differential Diagnosis Pocket App
Differential Diagnosis Pocket app is an essential resource for medical students entering and a compact reference source for residents and other healthcare professionals, providing them with the basic foundation for formulating a thorough list of differential diagnosis.
It contains over 800 lists of symptoms, physical signs and abnormal lab findings and tests, which users can browse via alphabetical table of contents or search tool.
The app allows users to highlight favorite entries and to add personal notes to each entry.
It's available for both Android and iOS, however not for free. It requires $9.99 purchase.
Isabel Dx App
Isabel app is clinical decision support tool that provides healthcare professionals with access to vital information at the point-of-care, enabling them to search for possible diagnoses by multiple clinical features quickly and easily.
The app features two main components: the IDCS and Knowledge.
The IDCS is a database that provides clinicians with a checklist of possible diagnoses and causative drugs. It contains over 11,000 diagnoses and over 4,000 drugs.
The Knowledge feature provides users with comprehensive medical information related to each of the diagnostic suggestions and drugs listed in the IDCS database, as well as specific answers to clinical questions arising in the workflow.
The Isabel app also isn't intended to provide a diagnosis, but to help providers consider alternative possibilities and important threatening conditions.
It is available for both iPhone and Android devices.
Differential Diagnosis by Ease Me App
Differential Diagnosis is another paid app for iOS and Android that costs $1.99. It is an easy to use reference guide, helping medical providers find differential diagnosis associated with signs, symptoms, or laboratory and radiology findings.
It has very simple design featuring customizable search option that users can utilize to enter the symptom and review the list of differential diagnosis associated with that symptom.
Not bad app, but there are certainly better DDx solutions available for free.