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Overall value:
89 pts
The Chief Complaint app is a point of care reference for emergency medicine providing a plethora of evidence-based and up-to-date reference content presented in an algorithmic manner that covers the most common conditions encountered in the ER.


100 pts
App Interface Usability
Easy to navigate, with occasional usability 'hiccups'
86 pts
Multimedia Usage
The app doesn't include multimedia
77 pts
Real World Usability
Invaluable EM resource for both trainees and seasoned physicians
94 pts

Each shift in emergency medicine is unique. Not only the cases but the flow of patients as well. However, all EM shifts have one thing in common. They're hectic and never seeming to slow down, which doesn't leave providers with too much time to look up important information.

That's why more and more emergency physicians, practitioners and nurses turn toward mobile apps for emergency medicine they could use at the point of care.

Almost every healthcare provider nowadays is using their mobile phones and tablets to access important information via medical apps. 
These apps help physicians make more rapid and evidence-based decisions and provide better care to their patients when the clock is ticking. This is particularly important in the emergency setting.

We at SteadyHealth already reviewed several emergency medicine apps and also compiled a list of best emergency apps for doctors and medical students

The app we review today, The Chief Complaint, isn't on that list, simply because it wasn't made at that time. But, it would have certainly found its place there based on the quality of its content.

The Chief Complaint app was written by Dr. Chris Feier, MD, an ER physician and associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Southern California, and developed by Escavo, the same company that made two sepsis apps Sepsis Clinical Guide app and Sepsis Timer app which we both reviewed on SteadyHealth.

The Chief Complaint app can be described as a point of care reference tool for emergency medicine, which is based on an EM reference book by the same name.

The Chief Complaint app provides a plethora of evidence-based and up-to-date reference content presented in an algorithmic manner that covers the most common conditions encountered in the ER.

Upon opening the app, users are taken to the Home page that features several sections, which include Resuscitation, Cardiology, Pulmonary, Gastrointestinal, Genitourinary, Infectious Diseases, Neurology, Pediatrics, and OB/Gyn. There are also three more sections listed below, including Drugs, Calculators, and References.

As you could see, almost everything that one EM provider may need is featured in this app. Is that so?

Each section consists of peer-reviewed core topics in emergency medicine, which are designed to help providers make a quick differential diagnosis for an undifferentiated patient from the chief complaint perspective. 

Each complaint contains an easy-to-follow algorithm accompanied by a detailed step-by-step approach provided in a concise manner for diagnosis, treatment, consideration of other causes, and other important steps in the assessment of the patient. 

For each step, The Chief Complaint app includes references, guidelines, and links to trusted resources. Many of these resources are available for free, such as PubMed, while others like EM RAP or Essentials of Emergency Medicine require a paid subscription.

Besides references that can be viewed by tapping on the 'R' button, many of the steps also include 'Rx' button that lists the common medications used to treat particular complaint.

Drugs are also accessible via separate section available on the Home page. It provides guides listed by the drug category, ranging from sedatives to thrombolytics to anticonvulsants. Basically, these guides provide adult dosing.

The app also provides 6 medical calculators that can be useful in the emergency setting, including Wells Criteria for PE, CHA2DS2-VASc for stroke risk, and CURB-65 severity score, among others.

The Chief Complaint app also provides all references used for the creation of the app's content. All content can be bookmarked and accessed later. Users can also add notes to any section, which would be then available in the separate Notes section.

Finally, there's More section that provides users with additional information about the app, its purpose, and resources used.

However, I've encountered a strange quirk with these three sections. Tapping on them wouldn't open that section, but the last viewed page in one of the sections on the Home page. I had to use Back button to actually view my bookmarks, notes, or More section.

The app also allows users to quickly find what they're looking for by using the search function that, however, doesn't include the autocomplete feature.

The thing you'd probably notice is that The Chief Complaint app provides information on a limited number of EM differential diagnoses. 

This, however, doesn't affect the overall impression of the app. With few things improved, the Chief Complaint app may become one of the most used emergency medicine apps for both trainees and seasoned physicians, helping them evaluate the undifferentiated patient quickly and easily.

Benefit: Highly recommended to all healthcare providers who work in emergency medicine or urgent care


  • Clean design with easy to navigate interface
  • Comprehensive EM resources all in one spot
  • Evidence-based and well-referenced
  • Occasional usability issues
  • Limited number of EM differential diagnoses provided in the app
  • Some linked resources require paid subscriptions

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