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The Best (Near) Free Medical Apps

The next step after choosing your iOS or Android device, is to choose the best medical applications that answer your most common every day clinical questions. The most common PDA resource used by clinicians is a drug reference follower by disease references. The best products combine both together with links for speedy lookups. All of these recommended apps download and update  to your device when you have internet access, but work when you do not.  Not all clinical areas have WiFi or  cell service so you need some apps that function without it. The following free apps are recommended for all clinicians and can usually be found in the app store by using a name search:

Epocrates Rx The quickest drug database with a drug interaction  program, pill identification with pictures and descriptions, dosing calculator, formulary lists, and basic drug pharmacology. The free version does not include herbals There are several medical calculators and miscellaneous tables. Being able to sort through the different insurance plan formularies for your patients is a huge time and aggravation saver. There is an option to buy a subscription for the integrated clinical content from the British Medical Journal Point of Care, as Epocrates Essentials,This is provided to Emory students with out additional charge

Diagnosaurus - a free (or $1) download from McGraw-Hill and Unbound Medicine  is a wonderful e-book on differential diagnosis. It is a quick and easy review to make sure you are thinking of all the possibilities. “One sees what one knows” and this program can broaden your vision with over one thousand diagnosis listed by presenting symptoms, disease or body system. 

Skyscape –  is the leader in medical e-books for smartphones and PDAs. There are e-books for sale as subscriptions in every specialty (For  a 25% discount go to ) and they are all cross-linked for easy navigation. They have several free references, guidelines, monographs, and calculators listed at  Some of the useful free resources to have even if you do not want  the e-textbooks include:

  • Archimedes with 130  medical calculations
  • CheckRx , a drug interaction checker called
  • Outlines in Clinical Medicine(OCM), a comprehensive, internal medicine resource
  • Rxdrugs  a continually updated drug reference  tool and dosing calculator.

Medscape Mobile –   is owned by WebMD and is a combination medical reference and drug database with over 7,000 prescription, over-the –counter, and herbal drugs. There is a robust drug-drug interaction checker supporting multiple entries. The drugs are listed by class and there is dosing interaction, side effect, pharmacology and cost information. There is no automatic drug dosing calculator or formulary information. The disease section is organized by specialty and has referenced bulleted facts for quick review. There is a clinical procedure and protocol section  with ACLS/BLS, anatomy pictures, tables, lab values and more. CME is provided using case presentations that can be read in down time. There is a WiFi/Cell version that runs on many smartphones that cannot download the full product by directing your phone browser to

 Micromedex Drug Information – at is a extensive drug database with detailed information including pharmacokinetics, monitoring, toxicology and patient education teaching pearls. There is no dosing calculator, formulary information or drug-drug interaction checker. This is currently available for iOS and  Android devices for a $3 fee.

 Mobile PDR at  is the electronic version of the paper book published annually. There is a search function and pill pictures. There is no dosing calculator, herbal information, formulary information or drug-drug interaction checker This is available to practicing clinicians with a DEA or NPI number and it works on the Skyscape PDA platform for most devices.


  • Quickest drug dose lookup with the best dose calculator – Epocrates Rx
  • Best drug lookup on a formulary – Epocrates Rx
  • Best pill identification by size and color – Epocrates Rx
  • Best Disease reference –  Medscape
  • Best one spot look up for disease and drug information including interactions – Medscape (has herbals)
  • Best drug interaction checker with herbals included – Medscape
  • Most extensive drug information – Micromedex or Mobile PDR
  • Best Differential Diagnosis review – Diagnosaurus