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Overall value:
89 pts
Read by QxMD is a free app for Android and iOS devices with a goal to help healthcare professionals easily and quickly find and read medical journal articles for various specialties and build PDF collections for easier access.

Scores

Cost-in-use
Free
100 pts
App Interface Usability
Clean and easy-to-use interface
91 pts
Multimedia Usage
There are no multimedia per se
72 pts
Real World Usability
Easy way to follow medical journals and make collections of articles of interest
92 pts

To help them stay up to date on the latest medical research and topic reviews, healthcare professionals would appreciate a quick access to medical literature. Having journals, studies, and clinical cases at their fingertips could help their practice and improve their daily workflow.

Using a mobile device is probably the most convenient way to access the medical literature. There are many mobile apps that help providers access medical library journals from their phones or tablets.

Here on SteadyHealth, we already reviewed Docphin app, a pocket library of medical research journals.

Another similar app is created by QxMD, makers of the fantastic Calculate app, which is one of the best medical calculator apps that we also reviewed on SteadyHealth.

The name of their app we review today is Read. This app helps healthcare professionals easily and quickly find and read medical journal articles for various specialties. The app is available for free on Android and iOS devices.

Upon opening up the Read app, users will be asked to create an account with QxMD by providing basic information about themselves, including name, profession, specialty, and location. Users can also add the additional specialties they're interested in, as well as to choose keywords, collections or journals they want to follow. This step, however, can be done later.

Once created, the account could be edited later in the Settings section, where users can also set institutional access by entering their password for proxy access to their institution library and all of their medical journals.

The Read app opens to the new screen that contains featured papers from your specialty and any journals, collections, and keywords if you follow any. If you skipped this step, then you'd see only featured papers from your specialty, as chosen by the app. 

If you didn't add them during registration, you can add journals, collections, and keywords in the following tabs. Simply tap on the screen and then choose the entries from the alphabetical list. Journals based on your specialty and additional interests would be listed first, followed by all other available journals, including JAMA's series, New England Journal of Medicine's papers and so on. 

Collections, as their name suggest, are the collections of journals and papers made by Read app and other users. You can make your own collections, give them a name and make them private (for your eyes only) or public, so the other users would be able to find them in the app.

Keywords section allows you to add various keywords to get related papers (for example allergy, asthma, etc.).

There is also a Search option that enables easier look up. While it shows mostly accurate results, there's no autocomplete option which would make search function a lot easier to use.

The interface of the Read app is clean and simple with easy to use navigation. Basically, you scroll down through the papers and tap to open them. The papers are features in different colors, such as blue, green, red, depending on the nature of the paper, i.e. if it's an article, review, study, and so on.

Once you tapped on the article, it would start downloading automatically, so keep that in mind if you're using mobile data. While the articles are not big in size, several downloaded papers could still cost you money. 

You can disable this option in the settings, by un-checking Automatic PDF Download, and then the PDF won't download as soon as you've opened the paper, but you'd have to tap on the notification at the bottom of the screen to download it. Another option is to use WiFi on your device instead of mobile data. Keep in mind that some PDFs cannot be downloaded without institutional affiliation.

Opened papers can be viewed as PDF that opens in the app or you can go to the original web location. You'd have to use your fingers to zoom in and out once the PDF is opened, because you won't be able to see much, especially on the smaller screens. You can annotate PDFs by highlighting and underlining paragraphs or making notes.

Papers can be liked or disliked, shared with your peers, saved into your collection(s), or you can comment on them and discuss them with other users.

Read by QxMD app also allows medical providers to track their continuing medical education (CME) credits, which requires complete profile including name, profession, specialty,  and location/ZIP of the user.

In the past, the Read by QxMD app had a problem with outdated topic reviews. This is hopefully fixed because I couldn't notice any. Even those topic reviews that date back in 2014, or even 2012, are supporting up to date recommendations.

Overall,  Read by QxMD is a great way to keep up with new articles from various medical journals and to manage collections of scientific papers for easier access on mobile devices.
 
Benefit: Any healthcare professional would find this app useful to keep up to date with new medical articles

Verdict:

For
  • The app is easy to navigate and use
  • Ability to create collections of articles for easier access
  • Share articles via social networks or email
  • Tracking CME credits
Against
  • Search option could be improved with autocomplete
  • Some PDFs cannot be downloaded without institutional affiliation

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