This month, our physician reviewers share their experiences with two apps they recently had the opportunity to review.
From our Physician Reviewers
Average App Store Rating:
3.5 stars (1,917 ratings)
MedCalc is a free, physician-developed medical calculator featuring more than 100 calculations, support for US and SI units, “formulas within formulas,” and a unique translucent floating keypad for data entry. The “formulas within formulas” feature links to medical calculations that require results from another calculation (such as the APACHE II score requiring the results of the Glasgow coma score) in such a way that users do not have to copy and manually enter the results in the main calculation. The floating keypad is always on screen, but nearly transparent. The keypad becomes fully visible when tapped and will advance the data entry focus in the formula when swiped to the left or right. This floating keypad feature may be frustrating to some users.
MedCalc maintains a history of previous values entered for each calculation, which is helpful for repeat calculations on the same patient. The app also includes detailed information about each calculation, including links to primary source articles.
MedCalc is an excellent addition to the iPhone of any healthcare professional who uses scoring systems to assess the severity of illness or uses medical calculations.
-Robert Robinson, MD
Pocket Informant (Calendar & Tasks)
Average App Store Rating:
3.5 stars (35 ratings)
One of the first apps I recommend to new iPhone purchasers is a replacement for the calendar app that comes with the iPhone, as most busy professionals find it to be too simple and inflexible for their needs. There are quite a few potential replacements out there, but I consider Informant to be the most feature-packed and flexible, and it’s well worth the $12.99 price tag for the full version (Pocket Informant Lite is available for free).
In terms of sheer aesthetics, Informant allows for multiple views, including Day, Week, Month, and also a unique List feature that allows for scrolling through upcoming appointments and tasks. The app also changes its view when the iPhone is rotated to landscape mode, providing an alternative way to look at the entire week. To-do tasks are integrated into the calendar, and there is great flexibility in how one can categorize and prioritize them; Informant also provides support for the Franklin-Covey ABC/123 method, which is what I use.
The To-Do feature allows for synchronization with Google Calendar, providing a cloud-based solution and the ability for multiple users to synchronize to a single calendar and coordinate schedules in real-time; the feature is a great way for work colleagues or even family members to synchronize appointments and events. Each user can select when he or she wants to view the ‘shared’ calendar, and can even create a local, ‘private’ calendar that others cannot see. This solution also allows one to pull up the same public calendar from a Web browser an make changes.
One of the major disadvantages is the lack of To-Do synchronization with Google’s To-Do. Informant uses a second application, Toodledo, for synchronization of tasks if one wishes for a cloud-based task solution. I opt to keep task synchronization off, which still allows for full functionality.
Settings are quite detailed and allow for an enormous amount of customization, and even the most demanding organizers will find satisfaction with this. Informant also takes advantage of push notification, allowing users to set alarms for to-dos and appointments without the application running. The integrated search function is robust, and necessary, since the iPhone’s innate search function cannot ‘see’ into Informant.
I highly recommend Informant for demanding and busy people who expect a lot from a calendar app. Outlook and previous BlackBerry users will feel at home with the high degree of control provided with Informant.
-Amit Bhavsar, MD
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