The use of mobile devices in clinical practice is growing. Mobile apps provide healthcare professionals with the point-of-care access to medical information on the go.
However, despite the ever-growing number of new medical apps, it is still extremely difficult to identify relevant apps to use in practice, particularly the relevant and reliable infectious diseases apps that provide point-of-care access to resources and clinical decision support tools.
Some of the available infectious diseases apps are great, providing evidence-based content from trusted resources, such as the IDdx: Infectious Diseases app we already reviewed.
However, the plethora of these ID apps is one-sided, lacking regulation, or providing inaccurate and outdated content. These apps do not often guide the clinicians from start to finish, and often need to be combined with others apps to make an actual diagnosis.
Dr. William Wright, an infectious disease specialist affiliated with multiple hospitals in Pittsburgh and Baltimore, decided to create an all-in-one diagnosis app for infectious diseases.
Dr. Wright is also known as a writer of two editions of 'Essentials of Clinical Infectious Diseases,' a practical handbook providing students, residents, primary care medical providers, nurses, and PAs with a quick but comprehensive overview of the major infectious disease topics and clinical approach to diagnosis and management.
With the help of Eric Washburn, a mobile app developer, Dr. Wright developed the iDx Essentials app which is, similar to his handbook, focused on common infectious diseases.
The app is not as comprehensive as the book but rather focused to guide clinicians from an initial pre-test probability to a post-test probability and diagnosis using likelihood ratios for each infectious disease (there are currently 23 ID conditions in the app). The app also provides a section with concise treatment guidance for each condition supported with numerous references.
Basically, the iDx Essentials app allows providers to make actual evidence-based diagnoses using their mobile device at the point of care.
The iDx Essentials app, or iDiagnose, as the app has been advertised on app stores, is free to download and doesn't require users to register an account.
It opens to a Home page that features 23 infectious disease conditions listed alphabetically, from Acute appendicitis and Meningitis to Sepsis and Vascular graft infections.
Each of the conditions provides access to easy-to-use clinical decision tools including risk scores, algorithms, equations, diagnostic criteria, classifications and more for that particular condition.
Selecting a particular infectious disease will open the Condition screen. Here, providers can adjust the pre-test probability by moving a slider based upon local prevalence. In some cases, the pre-test probability supported by current literature is used.
In the next step, providers should tap on the applicable positive or negative likelihood ratio findings from their workup and the post-test probability will be automatically calculated at the bottom of the screen.
Some conditions in this list use diagnostic criteria or algorithms, based on published medical literature or published guidelines to either confirm or reject diagnoses.
Providers can also access and view pathophysiology, clinical features, examination tips, microbiology, diagnostic testing, and treatment suggestions for each condition, which are available on the Additional Information screen that can be accessed by tapping the Rx icon at the top of the screen or the icon with the name of disease at the bottom of the screen.
This approach makes calculating post-test probabilities on common infectious diseases extremely easy. Instead of looking at separate signs, symptoms, and lab tests, iDx Essentials app puts them all in one place, providing evidence-based treatment recommendations for each infectious disease listed in the app.
It should be noted that the app is peer-reviewed by board-certified physicians. The information contained within the app is well documented and contains references to scientific peer-reviewed published papers used.
The design of the app is not the greatest, however, this isn't of much importance because the app's functionality works flawlessly so all the information can be accessed quickly and easily. This is particularly important because the app is intended for the use at the point of care.
The only drawback I've noticed is the absence of some common infectious diseases seen in primary care.
Overall, the iDx Essentials app is a great tool for a rapid diagnosis and appropriate diagnostic workup of common infectious diseases, by applying evidence-based formulas, math, and EBM stats at the point of care.
The app allows users to easily convert pre-test to post-test probabilities using validated likelihood ratios related to each infectious disease condition listed in the app. The app also provides a brief overview and well-referenced treatment section for each disease.
Benefit: The app is intended for primary care medical providers, residents, medical students, nurses, and any provider looking to perform EBM stats for common infectious diseases