Using mobile devices for getting relevant and up to date clinical information became a standard adopted by the medical community. Conundrums the healthcare professionals often have can be easily solved by resorting to one of the many point-of-care apps installed on their smartphones.
Mobile devices also keep reminding medical providers about important things, such as the relevant prescribing information, which would be impossible to remember, even for pharmacists, with an ever increasing range of drugs entering the market. This is the reason why the most of healthcare providers have at least one drug reference app installed on their phones.
SteadyHealth already reviewed two apps that deliver a great share of information about medications. First app we reviewed is Epocrates that remains as one of the best drug and medical reference apps available. Another is the Drugs.com Medication Guide app that we crowned in our review as the most comprehensive source of drug information. However, we had to dethrone it, because the new king has arrived.
Lexicomp app is probably the best and the most comprehensive medication reference app that provides clear and concise drug information, including dosing, administration, warnings and precautions, as well as high quality clinical content. Whether you're physician, dentist or pharmacist, this app is a must have. However, it has one big drawback – its price.
Lexicomp requires subscription that ranges from $175 to $798 annually, depending on the package you choose. The most common subscription package is Lexi-COMPLETE that costs $285 per year. Lexicomp also offers individual databases for $75, or combined database packages for $115. Institutions such as medical schools and health facilities can create an account instead, allowing their physicians or students to use the app with the institution's account.
Lexicomp also allows new users to register and access all the databases for 30 days for free. I'm not sure that one month would be enough to browse through all the information provided in the app. This review would have 10+ pages if I went through every database that would also require half a day to be downloaded. Lexicomp looks like dozens of medical books placed in an app. Actually, I wouldn't be wrong if I say that Lexicomp looks like the whole medical school building was placed in an app. It's amazing.
On the first launch of Lexicomp, you'll be offered to download databases (individual or all) from the list of 37 medical and dental categories, which include detailed pharmacology reference guides, Drug ID, pharmacogenomics, toxicology, labs and diagnostics, calculators, 5-Minute Clinical Consult, medical abbreviations, advanced emergency protocols, etc.
Each database has the size in MB listed beside, which gives you an estimation about the time required for the download and the free space you need to have on your mobile device. All downloaded reference data can be stored either on your device or external storage (to save the space), and the Lexicomp app gives you choice that can be edited later in preferences.
Looking at the list of databases alone will give you an impression that the amount of data available in the app is nothing but amazing, especially if you're healthcare provider.
For the purpose of this review I didn't download all databases, but some of them including Lexi-Drugs guide, calculators, interaction guide, pharmacogenomics, toxicology, lab tests and diagnostic procedures, and pediatric 5MCC. Even with these 'few' databases, the Lexicomp app looked like a complete guide. I might take some time later to download all databases and browse through them, but as I said, one month might not be enough.
After all databases are downloaded or updated, the Lexicomp app opens to a home screen featuring 7 colorful icons that contain the app's main categories, including Library, Interact, Drug ID, Calculators, IV compatibility, Update and Info. The app's interface is not so impressive design-wise, but it is fast and easy-to-navigate.
The Library is the main section containing all the databases I've downloaded. For most medical providers, Lexi-Drugs will be a starting point. It is a database providing detailed drug information with drug names (brand and generic), pharmacologic categories, regimens (including chemo), alerts and warnings, prescribing restrictions, etc.
To see the scope Lexicomp app covers, simply tap on the drugs category. It will take you to the endless list containing any known medication, sorted in alphabetical order.
Opening any drug require you to delve into exhaustive information that contains anything from drug name, category it belong to, comprehensive adult, geriatric and/or pediatric dosage with recommendations on hepatic or renal impairments (if applicable) and dosage forms, calculators, interactions, adverse reactions, etc. All information is more than well-referenced. For example, each drug page contains dozens of links to relevant sources or other parts of the app.
Same goes for any other part of the Library section, i.e. for databases I've installed. Of course, the size and the format of the information depend on the topic they cover. For example, information in charts & special topics section in Lab Tests and Diagnostic Procedures database is not as exhaustive as Drugs database. However, it's concise and provides the names of all editors and contributors, like it's done in Pharmacogenomics database.
It's possible to check various drug interactions within the drug database. However, Interact category on the main screen allows you to do the same i.e. to search for drug interactions between two or more medications. Simply tap on Add button and after choosing the medications, you'll see the list with color-coded icons that indicate risk rating.
Drug ID and IV Compat sections can be also accessed from the main screen, and they require additional 600MB of download. Drug ID helps providers quickly identify unknown or unlabeled medications based on imprint, dosage form, shape, and color. IV Compat is based upon the IV Compatibility Database by Lawrence A. Trissel, providing physicians with the information about compatibility and stability of IV medications.
Lexicomp also includes various medical calculators, from A-a Gradient to 4T score, which are sorted alphabetically and by category. This way it works well as a decision support tool too.
Browsing through the exhaustive information is simplified by using the Search option, which provides accurate results really quickly.
Although heavy on text, the Lexicomp app also includes a lot of images, charts and diagrams, but they don't come without drawbacks. The view wasn't adapted to the screen too well, even if it was rotated horizontally. It's possible to zoom out using finger gestures, but it doesn't only scale down the graphics, but also the text, making it harder to read.
But this is only a minor issue that doesn't affect the overall impression about the Lexicomp app, which is amazing.
The Lexicomp app is not only a drug reference guide, but also exhaustive and comprehensive medical reference tool that brings together an impressive amount of clinical information. It also works as a great support tool with the capacity to help physicians make better healthcare decisions.
So, is the subscription worth the money? Definitely. But, most providers, especially medical students, may still find it pricey. The solution might be a subscription via medical institution or school that would allow their employees and students to access this really valuable information.
Benefit: All healthcare institutions and providers, including physicians, dentists, pharmacists, nurses, students