Mobile Applications for the ED Provider

We conducted an online survey of the approximately 200 EM providers (attendings, fellows, residents, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants) affiliated with BrownEM. The survey asked providers which medical apps they had downloaded on their mobile devices and which apps they actually used on a regular basis. Ninety-nine providers answered the survey (response rate 49.5%); the distribution of respondents was 51% attendings, 33% residents/fellows, and 16% NPs/PAsThe results of the survey are presented below, categorized by type of mobile app. Most of the apps and resources described below are widely used and highly circulated throughout the emergency medicine community. Just as in consumer mobile health, we found that although many apps are downloaded, few are used on a regular basis; on average, BrownEM providers reported that they had six medical apps downloaded on their phone, but only regularly used two. Highlighted below are the apps that providers most frequently find themselves using in day to day practice. BrownEM has no financial ties to any of these applications or their developers.


Just in time resources (percent of respondents using the app)


1. Epic Haiku


The essential companion application for the Epic EMR. The most useful feature is the ability to capture clinical images and upload them to the patient’s chart. Because sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words.

iOS | Android


2. UpToDate


One of the most widely used, peer reviewed online reference sources for physicians. A great resource for a quick refresher on a topic, however much information is not necessarily important for ED management.

iOS | Android


3. MD Calc


An app that aggregates clinical decision rules, medical formulas, and other hard to remember checklists/criteria. Simple to use, free to download. Also available online.

iOS | Android


4. Epocrates


All-in-one application with guidelines, pill identification, drug interaction tool, drug monographs, and more. Free app with limited features, or a premium version is available.

iOS | Android

Abx Guide.png

5. EMRA Antibiotics Guide


The official antibiotics guide published by EMRA. The app requires a $20 investment but is updated yearly with new recommendations for drug choices. An incredibly helpful resource for when you can’t quite remember what drug to reach for or its dosing.

iOS | Android


Runner Ups



Mobile version of the opensource, wikipedia-like encylopedia of emergency medicine. A good quick reference with the caveat of it being publicly editabe.

iOS | Android



Similar to Epocrates but is free and has an offline version. Good resource for pill identification, drug info, and drug interactions.

iOS | Android

Eye Chart

A simple, straightforward app for checking visual acuity at 4ft.



When looking at the educational resources used in our department, there is one clear winner. EM:RAP is the go-to resource used by almost every single survey respondent. A few apps are featured below that may be worth investigating as they are fun, educational, and easy to use.

Educational resources (percent of respondents using the app)




The well-known and almost ubiquitous EM:RAP is an excellent way to keep current. With new podcasts and content published on a monthly basis it can be considered an EM staple. Paid subscription is required for the content, but the app is free.

iOS | Android




A literature aggregator. Fill in your specialty, favorite journals, and areas of interest and it will pull together recent articles geared towards your interests. An amazing way to keep up with the literature. It integrates with Brown’s library system to access articles.

iOS | Android

ECG Guide.png

ECG Guide



Great for refreshing yourself on ECGs findings. Has over 200 ECGs that you can be quizzed on with teaching pearls. $0.99

iOS | Android


Suggested Apps


1 Minute Ultrasound

60 second video clips of the bread and butter EM ultrasound scans. Perfect for showing students or a quick refresher before going into a room.

iOS | Android


A series of interactive clinical vignettes where you must chose the correct workup, management, and disposition for an evolving patient presentation.

iOS | Android


Figure 1

Think of this app as “Instagram for doctors” but with an educational twist. Users submit images of interesting cases for discussion. Check out our account @BrownEM

iOS | Android


Finally, multiple providers made suggestions for resources they find incredibly helpful but are not app based. Below is a compilation of some of the top websites, programs, resources, and organizational tools that help some of us keep it together.

Evernote – A could based platform for organizing notes, documents, and files across multiple devices.

Dropbox and Google Drive – Online cloud storage platforms that allow for the sharing of documents, images, files across computers and with other users. Essential tools for the modern EM provider.

Lexicomp – A comprehensive drug reference with information regarding dosing, efficacy, and adverse effects. Access is provided for free through Lifespan intranet. A mobile app is also available to download.

Podcasts – By now most folks have gotten a taste of the podcast life. Everybody has their favorites depending on their interests. A couple of podcasts that this author has found to be particularly high yield are:

  • Pediatric Emergency Playbook – bread and butter PediEM cases and core content
  • EMCRIT – Scott Weingart’s pride and joy, cutting edge stuff but lots of opinions
  • UltrasoundPodcast – From scanning basics to literature reviews, they have it all
  • FOAMCast – brings together the best of FOAM, new literature, and core content
  • GEL Podcast – a new ultrasound podcast discussing the evidence behind scanning
  • EM Basic – as the name implies, bread and butter EM basics
  • ED ECMO – high tech critical care brought into the world of EM

BrownEM has recently taken the plunge into the podcasting world under the guidance of Dr. Gita Pensa. Check out the BrownEM podcast here.

Twitter – with thousands of EM docs tweeting daily, there is a niche interest for everybody in the FOAMed (Free Open Access Medical Education) Twitter-verse. Critical care, airway management, wellness, education, sex and gender, ophtho, anesthesia – you name it, and somebody is tweeting about it. **Buyer beware, the veracity of some tweets cannot be guaranteed**

Blogs – the online companions to many podcasts, twitter accounts, and residency programs. Great sources of information that usually have posts on relevant and interesting topics, with useful images, original content, and amazing references.  The two most highly recommended by our providers are Life in the Fast Lane and Academic Life in Emergency Medicine

Faculty Reviewer: Megan Ranney, MD