Every healthcare professional needs comprehensive, trusted medical reference to support their practice. The Merck Manual is one of the essential reference texts that has been used for years by both physicians and patients.
It was first published in 1899 by the American drug manufacturer Merck & Co. under the title 'Merck's Manual of the Materia Medica' as a small reference book for physicians and pharmacists.
After more than a century, the Manual grew in size and scope, with nineteen editions and over 3000 pages, to become one of the most widely used comprehensive medical resources available as several manuals for healthcare professionals and students, veterinarians and veterinary students, and consumers.
In 1999, the centennial edition (the 17th) of The Merck Manual was published and the first digital versions of the Manuals were made available for free online.
In 2014, the Merck Manuals decides to go digital-only. This decision, however, has been reversed and the Merck Manuals decided that they would publish the 20th Edition in print format next year (2018).
Along with the development of mobile technologies, Merck Manuals became available as smartphone apps. The two best known are Merck Manual for Consumers (mobile version of Home edition) and Merck Manual Professional that we review today.
Once a paid app ($29.99), the Merck Manual Pro (as well as other Merck Manual apps) became free, which is the best thing about this app. Basically, you get all the content, which includes a plethora of medical topics, clinical calculators, videos, and much more for free.
The app doesn't take much time to download. However, once installed and started, it will automatically initiate a download of the app's content (about 300MB), so keep in mind that you'd have to enable the WiFi and have enough space on your device storage.
Once downloaded, the of most content will be available offline. Some features, however, are available online, such as cases and quizzes, and might require you to leave the app and visit the Merck's website.
If you used the previous versions of Merck Manual app, you might notice that the app has been completely redesigned, looking clean and modern.
All app's features are available right from the home page, including Medical Topics, Videos, Clinical Calculators, Resources, News & Commentary, and Favorites. These features are also available if you tap on Menu icon top left.
If you know what you're looking for, you can use the Search that makes the things easier thanks to the autocomplete option, so you'd notice that navigating through the app is really easy, whatever the way you choose.
Medical Topics section is the focal point of the app. It lists the common medical topics alphabetically, which include disorders, from cardiovascular disorders to injuries and poisoning to pulmonary disorders, and clinical pharmacology.
Each of the topics opens to the list of sub-topics that contain specific medical information provided in a form of text, images, videos, tables, algorithms, etc.
For example, diseases contain information about pathophysiology, etiology, signs and symptoms, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, and key points.
Textual information is supported by images, for example, chest X-ray or ECG images, videos provided by Osmosis channel that open in the app, or tables that can be expanded for a better view.
All other topics that are mentioned inside the text are interlinked, so you can jump straight to them, as well as clinical calculators that pop up in the topic and help you calculate risks and doses for a particular condition.
Videos section contains videos of particular procedures or presentations, such as aortic stenosis, bone marrow biopsy, E-FAST, and so on, that can be either viewed in the app or downloaded to your device. If you decide to download the videos, you can delete them anytime by pressing on the icon beside the video name. Videos are listed alphabetically, but you can also filter them by main categories.
Clinical Calculators are another useful feature for every practicing clinician, containing 100+ medical calculators, from a 5-year risk of cardiovascular disease in Type I diabetes to Winter's formula for expected PCO2.
Resources section contains other valuable resources for clinicians, including normal lab values, images, tables, and figures. Here, clinicians can also try to solve interactive case studies or quizzes, as well as to hear audios of lung and heart sounds, or to view conversion tables and the list of medical abbreviations.
News & Commentary section features the most current and important medical topics for different specialties.
Finally, Favorites section contains all topics, calculators and other content that you've added there for easier access by tapping on the star icon.
The content of the Merck Manual Professional app is written by over 300 medical experts, which guarantees that all the information in the app is trustworthy. Content is well-referenced and well-interlinked for easier use, which is particularly useful for all clinicians who can use the app at the point of care.
Overall, the Merck Manual Professional is an amazing free app and an excellent source of medical information for healthcare professionals in almost every specialty.
Benefit: Any medical professional should have this app installed, especially because it's available for free