Apps for ClinicalKey and BMJ Best Practice

Clinically relevant apps constitute a small fraction of available medical apps. Using emergency medicine apps as a test, Wiechmann et al (2016)¹ estimate that clinically relevant apps represent only about 7% of the medical section of the App Store and 0.1% of all apps in the App Store. The College library helps registrants cut through the questionable value of some apps by curating a collection that is worthy of consideration for clinical decision-making. See the Apps and Audiovisual page of the College’s website. 

The ClinicalKey app is the most recent addition to the College library’s app collection. Like the online version of ClinicalKey, the app searches a broad range of publication formats including current summaries of disease management, recent editions of about 180 ebooks, articles from over 150 e-journals, drug monographs, patient handouts, and practice guidelines from Canadian and international professional and governmental organizations. 

The Procedures Consult portion of ClinicalKey displays videos, images and detailed text on care and techniques before, during, and after procedures. The app is available for iOS and Android devices. The College library subscribes to seven ClinicalKey modules that comprise the specialties of the most intensive library users: emergency medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, orthopedics, internal medicine, psychiatry, and family medicine. 

BMJ Best Practice app makes an interesting comparison to ClinicalKey. Best Practice is a point of care tool that summarizes evidence and opinion on major aspects of clinical management of diseases and symptoms. It links to relevant guidelines and published evidence within disease monographs and offers patient leaflets. Best Practice’s intuitive navigation allows for rapid identification of information relevant to specific patient groups. By comparison, a search in ClinicalKey leads to a list of content (e.g. monographs in a point of care tool, First Consult) as well as chapters, articles, guidelines, drug monographs and so on. 

Generally speaking, BMJ Best Practice organizes material into consistently formatted monographs which link out to relevant material. ClinicalKey delivers a broad range of resources as a list in response to a search. Depending on the clinical query, navigating ClinicalKey search results may be more laboured but the range of information may be broader. BMJ Best Practice and ClinicalKey provide sound and clinically meaningful information in well-designed interfaces – try both, explore and compare.

  1. Wiechmann W, Kwan D, Bokarius A, Toohey SL. There's an App for That? Highlighting the Difficulty in Finding Clinically Relevant Smartphone Applications. West J Emerg Med. 2016 Mar;17(2):191-4