The number of medical apps for mobile phones is growing rapidly every year on both Android and iPhone marketplaces. Many clinicians consider these apps indispensable tools that aid and support them in daily practice.
Clinical endocrinologists are no exception. They use a number of specialized mobile applications that provide vast of functionalities, including access to clinical literature, medical calculators and decision algorithms, point-of-care resources, and endocrine disease staging tools.
Having a mobile medical app that provides these tools and resources all-in-one spot is something that every endocrinologist wants. However, a majority of medical apps that promise multifunctional purpose, fall flat in reality.
Today, we review Endocrinology Advisor, a free app that – according to its developers – provides endocrinologists, diabetes educators and other healthcare professionals with the latest news and emerging trends in endocrinology, including medical slideshows, expert articles, case studies, concise drug monographs, and continuing medical education (CME) activities.
We wanted to see if this app is indeed what it promises - a good resource to help clinicians stay current in endocrinology, including drug reference and CME tool.
The app is basically a mobile port of the Endocrinology Advisor website, which means that the news section would the most prominent feature, which would be obvious upon starting the app.
It opens to the home screen that features the most recent news and articles focusing on various endocrinology topics. The news opens within the app, which is a good thing, knowing that many apps that aggregate news in a similar fashion only links to their parent websites.
The news is presented in a brief manner, which ensures quick reading, and all are referenced, containing links to resources. To refresh the news on the home page, simply pull down the screen with your finger, as implemented in many other popular social or news apps (Twitter, for example).
To reveal other app's features, just tap on menu icon on the top right. Here you'll see all news listed, grouped in main topics, including diabetes, thyroid and bone metabolism.
There's also "More Topics" section that includes news and articles for other endocrinology topics, including adrenal, androgen & reproductive disorders, cardiovascular & metabolic disorders, diabetes education, general endocrinology, neuroendocrinology, obesity, pediatric endocrinology, and practice management.
Each of these sections also includes a frequently updated list of brief, informative articles for a particular topic, supported with one or more reference links. Articles in each section also link to other related articles within the app.
Below informative section (news and articles) there's "Other Resources" section that contains many practical tools. Here's you'd find medical calculators aimed specifically at endocrine disorders, including Corrected Na (Glucose), Anion Gap, bicarbonate deficit, and much more. Each of these is easy to use, referencing the source materials.
Here in this section, endocrinologists can check different clinical charts, such as dyslipidemia drug indications. They're not mobile friendly tho, not looking well on smaller screens. Also, users cannot adjust the size of the chart, or zoom in or out.
The Drugs section doesn't cover just endocrinology conditions but encompasses all areas of medicine, from allergic and cardiovascular disorders to respiratory and urological conditions.
However, most endocrinologist perhaps would be interested only in drugs that cover endocrine disorders. This section is broken down into subsections that include corticosteroid-responsive disorders, diabetes, hypogonadism, pituitary disorders, and thyroid disease.
Opening each subsection features a list of medications used to treat particular conditions, both prescriptions and OTC drugs. For example, diabetes section lists drugs from Actoplus Met to Xigduo XR. Tapping on a drug opens drug monograph that includes thorough and well-organized information about usage, contraindications, warning/precautions, interactions, etc.
Browsing through the list of drugs is cumbersome, because the app doesn't have search tool, so users have to scroll up and down the list. Also, there's no option to bookmark/favorite drug (or any other portion of the app's content) for easier access.
Endocrinology Advisor app also includes CME section, which offers courses on a variety of topics, each being followed by review questions. By answering these questions correctly users earn varying numbers of CME credits, which can be redeemed immediately. However, in order to use CME feature, users must have registered an account with Endocrinology Advisor website.
While the app's interface is straightforward and easy to use, I found it to be a bit slower at times, with occasional unresponsiveness. Hopefully, this is something that could be fixed in one of the future updates.
Overall, Endocrinology Advisor is a solid app that provides clinical endocrinologists with the latest news in endocrine care, along with drug monographs, medical calculators, and CME courses. It's not a perfect app, but it is a decent addition to the mobile medical marketplace.
Benefit: Clinical endocrinologists, diabetes educators and other healthcare professionals who deal with endocrine conditions would find this app useful