Why screen medical reference apps?

Why screen medical reference apps?

The answer is obvious. We want our medical reference apps to provide information that is Evidence Based Practice (EBP). EBP has been defined as “the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence making decisions about the care of individual patients. (Sackett et al. 2000)” It is recognized that EBP at every level of health care is vital for ensuring effective and efficient care of patient. (Zipkin et al. 2012)

Numerous medical reference apps have been developed to provide searchable databases of summaries of the best available evidence on specific clinical topics to facilitate retrieval synthesis, organization and utilization of that research at the point care (Butcher et al., 2015; Lewis & Wyatt, 2014; Banzi et al., 2010; Kwag et al., 2016). Authors have identified, described, and evaluated multiple medical reference apps; all authors have found that all apps had room for improvement in all areas of quality of EBP material. (Bender et. al, 2013; Rosser & Christopher 2011; Gibbs et al., 2017; Huckbale et al., 2012; Banzi et al., 2010; Kwag et al., 2016; Campbell et al., 2015; Shurtz& Foster et al., 2016; Butcher et al., 2015; Farrell 2008)

Authors have acknowledged medical reference apps that are not peer reviewed and systematically evaluated have a potential risk of giving sub-par evidenced based information to aid in clinical decision making. Therefore, medical reference apps should be systematically evaluated by peer review or by the user (Bender et. al, 2013; Rosser & Christopher 2011; Gibbs et al., 2017; Huckbale et al., 2012; Banzi et al., 2010; Kwag et al., 2016; Campbell et al., 2015; Shurtz& Foster et al., 2016; Butcher et al., 2015; Farrell 2008). There is an opportunity to conduct systematic evaluations of medical resource apps and offer clinicians mobile access to a list of pre-screened apps via website. This website aims to do so.


• Banzi, R., Liberati, A., Moschetti, I., Tagliabue, L., Moja, L., (2010) A Review of Online Evidence based Practice Point of Care information Summary Providers. Journal of Medical Internet Research, vol. 12., iss. 2., e26., p.1

• Bender, J. L., Yue, R. Y. K., To, M. J., Deacken, L., &Jadad, A. R. (2013). A Lot of Action, But Not in the Right Direction: Systematic Review and Content Analysis of Smartphone Applications for the Prevention, Detection, and Management of Cancer. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 15(12), e287. https://doi.org/10.2196/jmir.2661

• Butcher, R., MacKinnon, M., Gadd, K., & LeBlanc-Duchin, D. (2015). Development and Examination of a Rubric for Evaluating Point-of-Care Medical Applications for Mobile Devices. Medical Reference Services Quarterly, 34(1), 75–87 13p. https://doi.org/10.1080/02763869.2015.986794

• Campbell, R., & Ash, J. (2006). An evaluation of five bedside information products using a user-centered, task-oriented approach. Journal of the Medical Library Association, 94(4), 435-e207.

• Farrell, A. (2008). An Evaluation of the Five Most Used Evidence Based Bedside Information Tools in Canadian Health Libraries. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 3(2), 3–17.

• Gibbs, J., Gkatzidou, V., Tickle, L., Manning, S. R., Tilakkumar, T., Hone, K., … Estcourt, C. S. (2017). “Can you recommend any good STI apps?” A review of content, accuracy and comprehensiveness of current mobile medical applications for STIs and related genital infections. Sex Transm Infect, 93(4), 234–235. https://doi.org/10.1136/sextrans-2016-052690

• Huckvale, K., Car, M., Morrison, C., & Car, J. (2012). Apps for asthma self-management: a systematic assessment of content and tools. BMC Medicine, 10, 144. https://doi.org/10.1186/1741-7015-10-144

• Rosser, B.A., Eccleston, C., (2011). Smartphone applications for pain management. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare. 17:308-312.

• Shurtz, S., Foster, M.J., (2011). Developing and using a rubric for evaltiing evidence absed medicine point of care tools. Journal of the Medical Libarary Association. DOI: 10.3163/1236-5050.99.3.012

• Zipkin, D. A., Greenblatt, L., Kushinka, J. T. (2012) Evidence Based Medicine and Primary Care: Keeping Up Is Hard to Do. Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine 79:545–554.