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UpToDate app review: extensive and expensive database

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Introduction

UpToDate iPhone and iPod touch app is a subscription-based clinical information database. The app is free, but to access the information within you must log in using your subscription. Features include persistent login, easy search with auto-complete, bookmarks and history, full iPad optimization, mobile-optimized calculators, and the ability to print, email topics and graphics to patients and colleagues.

Constantly Updated Database

UpToDate is just that: a constantly updated database. It is, however, subscription-based, and an individual license is $495 per year for non-trainees, and $195 per year for students, residents, and fellows (as of Feb 25, 2012). You will not find a subscribe option with in the app. This is likely so the developer can avoid having to pay Apple 30 percent of each subscription as per their policy with developers.

Another thing to note is that you cannot be logged in on multiple devices. One subscription will not work for one class. You also need to have an active Internet connection to keep your database refreshing and searching. Beware of data charges if you are not connected to WiFi, especially if you are logging in for the first time, as this is when a significant amount of data is downloaded to the app for the database.

 

Search Function

UpToDate has a very strong search function. The mobile app for iPhone and iPod touch does not disappoint here either. While the app works best on the iPad and was originally designed for the hardier device, the mobile version is also excellent. Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines stipulate that the list of titles should only have one line of text per item. That just doesn’t work for a medical app, and often it is the last word of the condition that differentiates it from another. Some things just cannot be abbreviated! UpToDate simply used two lines to cut down on wasted time clicking back and forth from the search results and the conditions found. Thank you!

As great as this app is, it is expensive and there are many websites that as a medical professional you can search just as quickly and easily from your phone or iPad using the WiFi connection within the hospital. It is very expensive, but if you are going to be doing field medicine with unlimited data, then this is definitely an inclusive medical condition app.

 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Very extensive
  • Search function includes more than one line of text cutting down on wasted time
  • Mobile app is just as great as the original iPad app

 

Cons

  • No in-app subscription option so that Apple doesn’t take a cut
  • Heavy on data if you are not on WiFi
  • VERY expensive and not necessary if you work in a hospital with website subscriptions

 

Final Thoughts

UpToDate iPhone and iPod touch app is a very inclusive medical database for use by subscribed individuals. It is however, very expensive and very data-heavy. If you are not embarking on a field medicine career, look into alternatives to save your pocketbook.

 

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