Mobile Apps for Busy Doctors

This week, some of the most technologically savvy staff here at RIG Locums have been investigating mobile and tablet apps on the market to help make busy doctors’ lives easier. 

With so many apps available, we’ve attempted to pick out the best of the bunch in each of the following categories; medical calculators, reference, training and job search.

Medical calculators & decision support tools

Calculate (Medical Calculator) by QxMD Medical Software

If you are looking for a free medical calculator app, our favorite and one of the best-rated apps among users is Calculate by QxMD Medical Software.  In addition to being completely free, the app has over 150 calculators covering the following specialties; cardiology, internal medicine, nephrology, general practice, hematology, gastroenterology, emergency medicine, oncology, orthopedics, respiratory, neurology, general surgery and obstetrics.

We particularly liked the simple yet effective user interface that allows you to find the calculator you need via a free text search, alphabetically or by medical specialty.  Calculators are presented via what QxMD call a “question flow engine”, helping you work through each equation systematically.  It also allows doctors to save their favourite tools in a separate area, so these can be easily accessed when needed.

Features and benefits at a glance

  • Free
  • Developed by a group of clinicians from different medical backgrounds
  • Calculators cover over 10 different medical disciplines
  • Integration with Pubmed
  • Metric and imperial units
  • Available on Android, Blackberry, iPad and iPhone

Reference apps

UpToDate by Wolters Kluwer

UpToDate is a mobile and tablet app that allows doctors to keep abreast of the latest standards in clinical practice with direct access into UpToDate’s powerful clinical knowledge resource database which includes over 10,000 medical topics, 9,000 recommendations and 5,200 drug monographs.  The app itself is free to download, but does require a subscription to the database (it is worth checking whether your institution has already subscribed to multi-user access).

The resource provides updates on new recommendations that could change usual clinical practice, c. 1,500 articles with evidence-based information that doctors can review with their patients, drug & drug interaction information, medical calculators and a media search encompassing diagrams, photos and videos.

The interface is extremely slick and easy to use, especially if you opt to download MobileComplete, which allows you to access the resource without an internet connection. However, it is worth pointing out that if you do choose this option, you will need a meaty 1.1 gigabytes of space free on your mobile device.

One of the best features in our opinion, is the “What’s New” area, which alerts doctors to the newest and most important information that has been added in recent weeks.

Recognised as a CPD resource in the UK, this app has the added benefit of allowing doctors to demonstrate they are keeping their knowledge up-to-date and includes the facility to print off usage and activity logs, which can be used to support appraisals and revalidation.

Features and benefits at a glance

  • Free to download, but a subscription to UpToDate is required (£300 per year, plus additional £300 if opting for the MobileComplete option)
  • Content contributed by over 5,700 top physician authors from around the world
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Available on Android, iPhone and iPad and Windows.


Chest x-ray training by Polwarth Medical

With so many different apps across a huge range of specialisms that help doctors to brush up on their medical knowledge, it was difficult to choose just one.  However, we thought the Chest X-Ray app was a good example of the sorts of apps that are available.

This particular app is a study tool designed to help doctors and students develop their radiology skills.  It provides numerous multiple choice quizzes to test your knowledge and help you find the correct diagnoses based on images, which sometimes include CT slices and lateral films.  After each question, annotations of the image are shown as well as explanatory text.

Whilst a useful tool, one of the main disadvantages of this app is that it is only available for iPhone users, but we have our fingers crossed that the developers will look at publishing on the other mobile platforms in the near future.

Features and benefits at a glance

  • Costs £1.99 from the Apple App Store
  • Over 100 case studies
  • Over 380 high quality images
  • A range of conditions covered, common and rare
  • Explanations at ends of each question
  • Available on iPhone

Finding jobs

RIG Locums Mobile Search

It’s fair to say that we may be a little biased here, but our recently launched free mobile search app from RIG Locums was designed to fill a gap in the market by allowing doctors to quickly search and apply for RIG Locums’ jobs, upload their availability and get notified when new jobs match their search criteria.

Launched in April this year, the app has already proved popular with over 500 downloads.

Features and benefits at a glance

  • Free
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • New jobs updated on a daily basis
  • Single sign-on via LinkedIn profile
  • Find doctors jobs by keyword, grade, specialty or location
  • Get mobile alerts when new jobs match your criteria
  • Request a call back to discuss your requirements with a member of the RIG team
  • Available on iPhone and iPad, Android, Windows Phone and Kindle Fire