Medical Apps For Starting Residency (iOS)

Our apps are good, but they don’t cover every aspect of a resident’s required app collection. Here are my recommended apps for iOS.


There are many medical calculators on the App Store. My personal favourite is MedCalX and it’s the one we’ve integrated with our apps. Re-written from the ground up in 2014 (with a name change in 2015 – it used to be called MedCalc), it was clearly designed by physicians for physicians. Attention to details and good support with regular updates is the hallmark of the app. On top of that, formulas are clearly referenced with links to Read by QxMD so you can… hum hum… freshen up on the different clinical scores (so you look like a champ during rounds!)

I recommend taking a few minutes creating a “favourite” list with the formulas you plan on using frequently. Don’t forget to “turn on” the integration with MedCalX in MD on Call (in Settings) for a quick access to the formulas discussed in the app!


Lanthier - Practical Guide to Internal Medicine is a personal favourite of mine and I’m sure you can spot the similarities with MD on Call. That’s because I’m responsible for the “app” version of that book *disclaimer*. For those who are not familiar with Lanthier, it’s an internal medicine pocketbook, very popular in Canada. The English edition has been held back due to distribution issues, but the app format has allowed it to really take off.

I really like the bullet point format of the text. It’s not meant to replace UpToDate — It’s different. More succinct, better adapted for the fast pace of the clinic or the ward.

As with MD on Call, I recommend setting up the note synchronization feature of the app. We made it free so you don’t lose your precious notes if you ever lose or break your device. Also, make sure you enable the integration with MedCalX for easy access to the recommended formulas from Lanthier.


The classic. I started using UpToDate when I was in my fourth year of medical school. I wasn’t a huge fan of the app when it first came out, but it’s been improved. I still prefer using it on my iPad because the long texts are better suited for the bigger screen. Now that the iPhone 6s Plus is out, my preference may change.


I’m writing this on Evernote. I studied for my board exams using Evernote. Why? Well, it’s the best one to easily create an app from personal notes.

Evernote syncs your notes in real time across all your devices (including your laptop). You can attach almost any type of file to your note, search them, and reorganize them.

The service is free for a “basic” account. The Plus and Premium account benefits changes from time to time. For me, the ability to work offline is the best feature of the Plus upgrade. — Especially good for use in hospital basements.

Michael Hyatt wrote some good blog posts on how to work with Evernote. iMedicalApps did something similar but less extensive (but more medically focused — although it’s getting old…).

I strongly recommend NOT taking patient notes using Evernote. It’s not HIPAA compliant and could get you in trouble if there’s ever a security breach.

Other apps offers similar features, such as Microsoft OneNote. I haven’t tried them so I can’t comment on their functionalities.

Procedure apps

Let’s face it. We have all “YouTube’d” procedures that we were not familiar with. It makes medical educators cringe, but it’s real life.

RealWorld Procedure is a good place to start instead of the ’Tube for general procedures. It’s based on the PocketSnip Prodedural Skill Project ( so at least you know the information is backed and produced by multiple Faculties of Medicine. Great content, all for free.

Medication app

There are two well-known players in that field. Epocrates and Micromedex. There are many others, but I’ve never seen anyone use them. I’m personally not a huge fan of either as the user interfaces are lacking. I tend to prefer Epocrates. Epocrates is technically free and Micromedex just recently started charging $2.99 for the app. Both apps sell some of your information such as specialty or browsing history to pharmas, which is something you need to be aware of.

Overall, it’s not my favourite business model, but people have to understand that putting all that information together costs a lot of money and they run a business. This tweet from @isaiah sums it up and is worth saying again: “either you pay for a service, or it’s selling you. There really isn’t a third option.”

I recommend downloading both and deciding which one you prefer. $2.99 for Micromedex is not a lot compared to that hardcover copy of Harrison’s you’re using as a doorstop.


Read by QxMD will allow you to stay updated on the latest literature. It essentially act like a FlipBoard for medical literature. I especially like the fact that it allows you to connect to your hospital or university’s library VPN so you can easily download the papers to your device. I enjoy getting their emails, which highlight the “most read papers in your field”. It’s one of my favorite app and I think everyone should get it.

Siri, reminder, task lists…

I like using Siri to set reminders for things like checking blood work and converting units.

There are tons of apps for managing lists. My personal favourite is Clear. It’s simple, elegant and syncs via iCloud with the Mac, iPhone and iPad client.


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