Medical calculators are widely used in modern clinical practice, whether as desktop, web-based or mobile solutions. These calculators can help healthcare providers of various specialties solve different questions, such as calculating stroke risk, deciding whether or not an atrial fibrillation patient should use warfarin, determining the severity or likelihood of certain diseases, etc.
Medical calculators can also help providers make important decisions, for example determining if the treatment should be inpatient or outpatient using CURB-65 score for pneumonia severity.
Ascend of mobile technologies made the medical calculators widely available for smartphones, and their use more convenient. Many healthcare providers have at least one medical calculator app installed on their phones as a part of their collection of most essential medical apps.
Many of these medical calculator apps focus on just one function, such as MAQI2 Anticoagulation Toolkit app or AnticoagEvaluator app, both trying to help clinicians dealing with difficult questions and decisions regarding anticoagulation therapy, as well as stroke and bleeding risks.
Some medical apps, however, include more than one medical calculator, thus helping healthcare providers of various specialties deal with complex questions and decisions.
Calculate by QxMD app we also reviewed on SteadyHealth is one of those multifunctional medical calculators that is also very popular in the medical community.
MDCalc app is another multifunctional tool that provides healthcare professionals with various medical calculations, evidence-based medicine and clinical decision support for different specialties.
It has evolved from the website of the same name, which is still the most popular online clinical decision tool among the physicians. The MDCalc app provides the same features and functionality now at their fingertips.
Before you can start using it, the app will require you to register, which is possible to do in the app by only providing your email and choosing the password.
In the next step, the MDCalc app will try to customize your experience by asking you to provide your occupation and specialty.
After everything is set, you'd be taken to the main screen that by default features the list of calculators based on your specialty.
For example, I've chosen Internal Medicine and got a list of calculators ranging from A-a O2 Gradient for explaining hypoxia to Winter's formula that calculates the expected pCO2 levels in patients with pure metabolic acidosis.
Browsing through this huge list all the time could become cumbersome, but fortunately there's search option that allows you to find calculators easily.
You can start typing first letters and the list will populate automatically. Using abbreviations is also fine because the app recognize them instantly.
It is possible to refine search by using tags that list calculators by their purpose, i.e. if they're algorithm, calculation, diagnosis, prognosis, rule out or treatment. Also, you can filter calculators by disease or chief complaint.
Each calculator has the star symbol beside that allows you to place the calculators in Favorites section for easier access.
Also, you can access all 248 calculators (not just those related to your specialty) by tapping the leftmost icon, which lists all calculators alphabetically.
Calculators are straightforward and easy to use. Users are expected to add entries manually or choose one of the predetermined options, depending on the type of the calculator. As you add manual entries, the normal values will be displayed as well.
Also, as you add or choose values, the result will be automatically calculated at the bottom for the screen, providing you with the brief explanation and recommendations for next steps, i.e. management, guidance or follow-up.
If you're unsure on how to use calculators, each features the 'How to Use' page that explains the purpose, usage and points to keep in mind.
Another useful section is 'About' page that describes the calculator, provides formula, evidence-based medicine facts and links, and reference used.
Finally, each calculator features page about its creator with doctor's short bio and links to their PubMed publications.
This is the probably the biggest value of MDCalc website and app – they're created and run by a team of physicians who actually practice medicine, and well-referenced throughout.
However, as their disclaimer states, this app isn't intended to give professional advice, only calculations and algorithms. The physicians and other healthcare professionals who use MDCalc app should exercise their own clinical judgment.
I'm big fan of minimal and clean design, and I really like how MDCalc app looks like. There are no unnecessary features crowded on the screen, which is a big plus. Also, the interface is smooth and easy-to-navigate, whether using tabs or swiping the screen.
The only drawback is that MDCalc app is still not available for Android phones, so physicians using this OS should resort to Calculate by QxMD or other medical calculator apps.
This is really shame, because MDCalc is amazing medical calculator app that combines medical calculators and algorithms with well-referenced and evidence-based expert content. This makes it a must-have for any physician looking for a great decision support tool.
Benefit: This app is a must-have for all medical providers using iPhone
* 04/21/17 Update: The developers recently ported MDCalc app over to Android, so we changed our score accordingly and added link to Android version.