Mobile Apps & Resources: App of the Month

To keep you updated on the go, our ‘app of the month’ highlights one free informational app every month!

Librarian reviewers consider the audience and purpose of the apps, as well as highlighting additional features:
 
  • In the ‘Evidence’ section, we assess how easily an app user can identify the app’s currency and support from the evidence
  • In the ‘Usability’ section, we assess the organization of information and other usability factors that may contribute to user experience

Our complete grading criteria for evidence and usability are embedded in the review.

Please note that the reviewers are not healthcare professionals, and so cannot appraise the quality of any recommendations within the app. The reviews are not endorsements.

Click here for the AHS policy on Cell Phones and Other Mobile Devices.

 

App of the Month - Bugs & Drugs

 

Bugs & Drugs

Reviewers

Marcus Vaska & Pamela Harrison

Version reviewed

2.0.8 

Device & OS used

iPad iOS 10.3.3 (MV) / iPhone SE iOS 11.0.2 (PH)

Date of review

September 29, 2017 (MV) / October 17, 2017 (PH)

AHS staff can email bugs&drugs@ahs.ca for a free redemption code to download the app at no charge. Please use your institutional email address when requesting. 

 

 

 

Image Source: Bugs & Drugs, Apple App Store. ​Retrieved on October 17, 2017 from https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/bugs-drugs/id609765024?mt=8

App developer

Alberta Health Services
Authors/Editors: Dr. Edith Blondell-Hill and Susan Fryters  

Contact

bugsanddrugs@albertahealthservices.ca

Devices

Apple iPhone, iPad, iPod touch iOS 9.1+; Android 2.3.3+; last updated May 11, 2017
Note: Not compatible with Blackberry.

Country of origin

Canada

Size

43.1 MB

Specialties/
Disciplines

No specific specialty or discipline listed  

Comments

Applicable to physicians, dentists, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, and other health care practitioners working with patients with infectious diseases

 

Stated Purpose

“Bugs & Drugs is a comprehensive, evidence-based reference" (source: App store listing); [the app] "provides general recommendations for appropriate antibiotic use and care of patients with infectious diseases" (source: Bugs & Drugs website > About > General Information

Notes

None

 

 

Part 1: Editorial committee, content updates, and evidence grading

Author and editor names and affiliations are provided, and are reputable. Entries are not dated. The app does not use an evidence grading system; the Bugs & Drugs website states that “recommendations made in Bugs & Drugs are based on our experience in infectious diseases, microbiology, and pharmacotherapy.” (Source: Bugs & Drugs website > Preface)   

Part 2: Source and authorship information for 3 entries

Citation list not provided directly in entry – must be accessed via app home page > References, which links out to a PDF list of references on the Bugs & Drugs website. Within that PDF, users can scroll down to entries of interest, to find citations used.  

No entry-specific authorship, contact, or affiliation information provided.

Note: "UPDATES to the content will be provided at no additional charge UNTIL DECEMBER 31, 2017 after which time a new subscription based app will be required to obtain the latest updates. This version of the app will continue to function after DECEMBER 31, 2017 but will not receive content updates" (source: App store listing).

Organization of information

App content is organized under 6 main headings:

  • Antibiotics
  • Treatment recommendations
  • Prophylaxis recommendations
  • Dental
  • Pregnancy / Lactation and
  • Organisms

Navigation

 

 

 

Extras

 

Information is menu-driven, with several subsections, and is clearly organized.  The search feature allows one to easily locate a desired topic, either by entering a term or browsing an A-Z.  Text entries are supplemented with pop-outs, tables and other supporting documents.


Limited customization is available: users can make notes and add bookmarks. 

Under the information (i) icon in the upper left corner, users can access app tutorials via the Bugs & Drugs website. Tutorials are specific to the mobile device and operating system being used with the app.

Internet connection required for use: No; Text search field: Yes; Browsable content: Yes; Advertisements: No; Pop-up advertisements: No; In-app purchases: No

 

 

 

 

App includes calculator for: Ideal Body Weight, Creatinine Clearance, Normalized Creatinine Clearance, Vancomycin Steady State ​

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App of the Month - AMMI Flu

 

AMMI Flu

Reviewers

Rachel Zhao & Pamela Harrison

Version reviewed

1.1.0

Device & OS used

iPad iOS 10.3.3 (RZ) / iPad Air iOS 9.3.4 (PH)

Date of review

September 12, 2017 (RZ) / September 26, 2017 (PH)

 

 

Image Source: AMMI Flu, Apple App Store. ​Retrieved on September 27, 2017 from https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/ammi-flu/id747230887?ls=1&mt=8 

App developer

Association of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Disease Canada (AMMI Canada) 

Contact

https://www.ammi.ca/

Devices

Apple iPhone, iPad, iPod touch [iOS 5.0+; not yet compatible with iOS 11.0+], last updated December 21, 2013

Country of origin

Canada

Size

16.4 MB

Specialties/
Disciplines

All healthcare practitioners in Canada

Comments

Content of this app applies to clinicians working with:

  • Patients presenting with flu symptoms
  • Persons predisposed to severe influenza
  • High-risk persons during community outbreaks

 

Stated Purpose

“The information in this app is intended for use by healthcare practitioners in Canada. It addresses the use of antiviral drugs in the management of influenza illness as published by AMMI Canada. For both zanamivir and oseltamivir, these guidelines are recommending some uses that are off-label and not approved by Health Canada. Accordingly, it remains incumbent on the prescribing clinician to apprise the patient that the drug has not been approved for this indication. Physicians are strongly advised to use clinical judgment when assessing patients and making treatment decisions. For complete recommendations, download the guidelines from the AMMI Canada website.” (Source: iTunes listing; also appears in ‘About’ > ‘Disclaimer.’

Notes

None

 

 

Part 1: Editorial committee, content updates, and evidence grading

Entries are not dated. Author names are provided, but individual contact information for authors is not provided. The app identifies the level of evidence and evidence grade for recommendations. 

Part 2: Source and authorship information for 3 entries

Evidence synthesis without citations. Author information is provided for the app as a whole, but not for individual entries.

AMMI Canada has produced and endorsed numerous guidelines; the app does not cite or link out to any specific one. Tracing the origin of the evidence is difficult.

Concerns about app currency: Date of last app update precedes publication of update to AMMI guidelines. (See Complete Evaluation for more information.) 

Organization of information

Clinical information is organized into categories:

  • Treatment
  • Antiviral prophylaxis
  • Recommendation
  • At-risk groups
  • Immunosuppression, and
  • Red flags  

 

There are also non-clinical information categories:

  • News & alerts (link out to Twitter feeds)
  • About 

Clinical information is displayed in algorithmic format: user answers questions on patient/person (e.g. age, severity of illness, prior treatment, etc.) and app displays targeted information accordingly. 

Navigation

Amount of clinical information displayed is limited, and determined by user answers to app questions. In-app content is easy to navigate. However, determining the sources of evidence – even from within AMMI Canada guidelines – is difficult to impossible. Connection to outside sources of evidence (excepting Twitter feeds and AMMI homepage) is not possible from within app, even with an Internet connection.

Internet connection required for use: No; Text search field: No; Browsable content: Yes; Advertisements: No; Pop-up advertisements: No; In-app purchases: No

 

 

‘News and Alerts’ section links to Twitter feeds:

@PHAC_GH; @HealthCanada; @CDCFlu

Users should be aware of other means of receiving alerts/updates. 

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CDN STI Guidelines

Reviewers

Marcus Vaska & Pamela Harrison

Version reviewed

2.0 (MV) & 2.0.1 (PH)

Device & OS used

iPad Air, iOS 10.2.1 (MV) & iPhone SE, iOS 10.3.1 (PH)

Date of review

July 9, 2017 (MV) & August 9, 2017 (PH)

 

 

Image Source: CDN STI Guidelines, Apple App Store. ​Retrieved on August 9, 2017 from https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/cdn-sti-guidelines/id958263397?mt=8 

App developer

Health Canada, with Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)

Contact

ccdic-clmti@phac-aspc.gc.ca

Devices

Apple iPhone, iPad, iPod touch [iOS 8.0+], last updated July 13, 2017

Android [4.0 and up], last updated July 13, 2017

Country of origin

Canada

Size

10.4 MB

Specialties/
Disciplines

Public and primary care health professionals working with adults and youth. Note: The app “does not contain information for the management of STIs in pregnant women, children, neonates or complicated infections” (Source: iTunes App Store listing).

Comments

None

 

Stated Purpose

“This application provides Canadian health professionals with up-to-date recommendations for the screening, diagnosis, management, and treatment of STIs, including recommendations for antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea” (Source: iTunes App Store listing).

 Comments  None

 

Part 1: Editorial committee, content updates, and evidence grading

Editorial committee assessment is not applicable here; the app is a Health Canada product. Evidence grading system and pop-out informational windows allow for easy assessment of evidence strength.

Part 2: Source and authorship information for 3 entries

Treatment entries provide access to condensed version of the guidelines. Users must leave app and access full guidelines online for more detailed information and references. 

Entries for Specimen Collection and Primary Care Considerations link out to other app entries, and authoritative sources (e.g. Professional Desk Reference, guidelines).

 

Organization of information

Each entry is organized into subsections (e.g. an Infections and Syndromes entry may include etiology, risk factors, symptoms and signs, important considerations, screening, treatment, reporting, follow-up). Hyperlinks to guidelines and additional external resources provide further information. Search feature is intuitive.

Navigation

Information is structured to allow targeted navigation, depending on context and clinical scenario.
'Back' and 'Contents' links allow for easy navigation. 

Internet connection required for use: No; Text search field: Yes; Browsable content: Yes; Advertisements: No; Pop-up advertisements: No; In-app purchases: No

 

 

No links to drug monographs per se, however, there are several links to specific sections of the guidelines, and external resources, for additional information.

Includes Screening & Testing algorithm to determine whether or not a patient should be screened for a particular condition (Sex, Patient is Symptomatic/Asymptomatic, Pregnant).

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Med-HF

Reviewers

Rachel Zhao & Pamela Harrison

Version reviewed

2.0

Device & OS used

iPad Air, iOS 10.2.1 & iPhone SE, iOS 10.3.1

Date of review

June 13, 2017

 

 

Image Source: Med-HF, Apple App Store. ​Retrieved on June 24, 2017 from https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/med-hf/id559909558?mt=8​ 

App developer

Alberta Health Services’ Cardiovascular Health & Stroke Strategic Clinical Network (SCN)

Contact

medhfmobileapp@ahs.ca (via AHS app site: http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/about/mobile.aspx)

Devices

Apple iPhone, iPad, iPod touch [iOS 8.0+], last updated February 03, 2017

Country of origin

Canada

Size

16.6 MB

Specialties/
Disciplines

Health professionals (especially physicians and pharmacists) working in Cardiology, or with patients at risk of heart failure

Comments

None

 

Stated Purpose

“[S]upports healthcare professionals in the initiation, titration, assessment and monitoring of the 4 drug classes commonly used to treat heart failure: ACEIs/ARBs, Beta-Blockers, Diuretics, Aldosterone Antagonists. Developed by Alberta Health Services in collaboration with the CCS, it guides users through evidence-based algorithms and recommends appropriate actions and considerations based on 2011 CCS Heart Failure Guidelines.” (Source: Canadian Cardiovascular Society (n.d.) Apps. Retrieved on June 13, 2017.)

 

Notes

 

None

 

 

Part 1: Editorial committee, content updates, and evidence grading

No editorial committee mentioned. The app was developed by the Alberta Cardiovascular Health & Stroke Strategic Clinical Network (SCN).  

Entries are not dated. The copyright statement when opening the app reads 2012. Although the most recent update is listed as Feb 03, 2017, the References section includes HF Algorithms from April 2012. However, HF guidelines from CCS (listed on the CCS site at https://www.ccs.ca/en/guidelines/guidelines-library) were last published in 2013, with a Compendium, (2006-13) released in 2014.

Part 2: Source and authorship information for 3 entries

No additional authorship information provided. Evidence syntheses do not provide in-text citations. There are links to external sources in Information > References. Within the app, the link to HF CCS Guidelines is broken (that is, it leads to an incorrect page). 

Organization of information

Content is grouped into 4 sections:

- General approach (Algorithm for prevention and treatment of clinically stable heart failure), provided in a single- screen overview
- Drug Information is divided into 4 major drug types: ACEIS/ARBS, Beta-blockers, Diuretics, and Aldosterone Antagonists. After selecting a drug type, the user selects information on initiation, titration, or monitoring
- Dosing information for each drug type, including initial dose, target dose, and dosage forms, provided in a single-screen overview
- Information, linking out to references (requiring Internet connection); also includes pearls and acronyms (available offline)

Navigation

Drug information is structured to allow quick, case-specific navigation: the user proceeds down a customized pathway to find specific information
General approach and Dosing tabs provide a one- look overview of information
Some screens will ask users yes/no questions about patients, to guide initiation, titration, or monitoring

Internet connection required for use: No; Text search field: No; Browsable content: No; Advertisements: No; Pop-up advertisements: No; In-app purchases: No

 

 

The Information section includes links to Heart Failure Information for Patients (under References), pearls, and a list of acronyms

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App of the Month - RNAO

Nursing Best Practice Guidelines App

Reviewers

Rachel Zhao & Pamela Harrison

Version reviewed:

3.1.0

Device & OS used:

iPad Air, iOS 10.2.1 & iPhone SE, iOS 10.3.1

Date of review:

April 24, 2017

 

 

Image Source: Nursing Best Practice Guidelines App, Google Play. ​Retrieved on May 11, 2017 from https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ca.rnao.bpg_app&hl=en

App developer

Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Contact

http://rnao.ca/bpg/contact; mwatson@rnao.ca

Devices

Apple iPhone, iPad, iPod touch [iOS 6.0+], last updated October 27, 2016

 

Android, [Android 4.1+], last updated October 25, 2016

Country of origin

Canada

Size

61.6 MB

Specialties/
Disciplines

Multiple specialties: gerontology, primary care,home health care, mental health care, emergency care, and healthy work environments in Nursing

Comments

Includes guidelines applicable to all specialties (e.g. patient & family centered care, client-centered learning, care transitions, and therapeutic relationships)

 

Stated Purpose

“[T]o support [Ontario] nurses by providing them with practice guidelines that will enable them to provide the best quality of care to their clients. These guidelines are supported by up to date, evidence based research.” (source: Google Play listing / App Store listing)

Notes

 

The app provides guideline summaries. Full guidelines are available online.
This app is not selling an external product or service.

 

 

Part 1: Editorial committee, content updates, and evidence grading

Editorial committee assessment is not applicable here. The dates of the guidelines are visible only in grid view, and legible only on larger (tablet) devices. A consistent evidence grading system is used for practice recommendations.

Part 2: Source and authorship information for 3 entries

App provides access to condensed version of the guidelines. Levels of evidence rating provided in the app. Users must leave app and access full guidelines online for detailed evidence and authorship information.

Organization of information

Table of Contents within guidelines allows user to skip to relevant sections easily.Browsing available guidelines in grid view (instead of in list view) allows users to retrieve guidelines without knowledge of exact terminology.

Navigation

Selection of guideline summaries is simplest in grid view, but may require scrolling across a horizontal list (depending on device display size). Navigating within the guideline summaries is simplified by the table to contents. The link back to the table of contents is always present at the top of the screen.However, returning to the table of contents will bring you back to the top of the list, so you will have to scroll down again.

Internet connection required for use: Yes; Text search field: Yes; Browsable content: Yes; Advertisements: No; Pop-up advertisements: No; In-app purchases: No

 

 

Additional features (e.g. assessment forms and scales) are listed in the guideline summary’s table of contents. These may be in full-text, or hyperlinked.

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Spectrum

Reviewers

Marcus Vaska & Pamela Harrison

Version reviewed:

2.1

Device & OS used:

iPad, iOS 10.2.1 & iPhone SE, iOS 10.3.1

Date of review:

April 22, 2017

 

 

Image Source: Spectrum, Google Play. ​Retrieved on May 11, 2017 from https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.spectrum&hl=en​

App developer

Spectrum Mobile Health Inc.

Antimicrobial stewardship working group: Paul Campsall, Vikas Chaubey, John Conly, Bruce Dalton, Daniel Gregson, Barry Kushner, Bayan Missaghi, Elizabeth Parfitt, Steve Vaughan, Danny Zuege

Contact

http://spectrum.md/;
support@spectrum.md

Devices

Apple iPhone, iPad, iPod touch [iOS 8.0+], last updated February 18, 2017

 

Android, [Android 4.1+], last updated February 7, 2017

Country of origin

Canada

Size

6.9 MB

Specialties/
Disciplines

Healthcare workers involved in antimicrobial stewardship

Comments

Includes information applicable to multiple professions (e.g. pharmacists, intensivists, infectious disease specialists)

 

Stated Purpose

Customizable decision support app that uses algorithmic format to “deliver local antimicrobial stewardship resources”  including:

  • Local guidelines
  • Local resistance data
  • Local epidemiology
  • Pathogen information
  • Antimicrobial information
  • ID consult requests

(Source: app website: http://Spectrum.md)

Notes

This app is not selling an external product or service.

 

 

Part 1: Editorial committee, content updates, and evidence grading

Antimicrobial Stewardship Working Group names provided, but without affiliations

Transparency of evidence is lacking: no dates for content updates, apart from App Store/Google Play listing information

No evidence grading.

However, the app website lists the following  endorsements (Source: spectrum.md):

  • Calgary implementation received a LEADing practice award form Canada Health InfoWay and Accreditation Canada
  • Trusted by Alberta Health Services, Providence Health Care, and IWK Health Centre

Part 2: Source and authorship information for 3 entries

Entries do not provide source information; quality must be inferred from endorsements (see above), and membership of Antimicrobial Stewardship Working Group

Organization of information     

Intuitive organization of information allows users to easily scan points and icons for relevant information

Navigation

Information is structured in algorithmic format to allow quick, case-specific navigation: the user proceeds down a customized pathway to find specific information

 

Some screens will ask users to patient characteristics (e.g. age range, measurements, previous infections) or setting features (e.g. long term care, acute care) to deliver customized information

Internet connection required for use: No; Text search field: No; Browsable content: Yes; Advertisements: No; Pop-up advertisements: No; In-app purchases: No

 

 

Checklists gather information to provide user with customized care pathway information, using algorithmic format

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