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Written by Dr James Glaseby

Smarter surgeons – Top smartphone apps for junior doctors

5 min read
Young female doctor smiling sitting at a desk with a phone

Life in hospital can be tough for Junior Doctors in surgery. With bleeps firing, theatres calling, and seniors rounding, it’s easy to exhaust your 'cognitive bandwidth' and become overwhelmed.

Smart phones have increasingly demonstrated a role in frontline medical practice [1, 2] - particularly within surgery [3].

As a junior surgical trainee, I have found a number of applications extremely useful to support my day-to-day practice. From streamlining information using scoring systems, to prescribing correct antimicrobials, to keeping abreast of new evidence; smart phones and their apps really can help.

Here's a selection of apps that I have found useful as an Academic Clinical Fellow in General Surgery.

Absolute essentials

Induction (Free)

The most important app in your armoury - a crowd-sourced phone and bleep database that is customized for your hospital. Simply download, select your favourites and save hours in lost phone calls to switchboard.

Microguide (Free)

Gain a full library of antimicrobial prescribing guidelines to implement directly into your clinical practice. At a time where antimicrobial vigilance is paramount, this app leaves no excuses when looking to maintain best practice in surgical microbiology.

Surgical anatomy

Touch Surgery (Free)

Before you go 'knife-to-skin' for your first surgical procedures, take a look at Touch Surgery's handy procedural guides. With representation across all surgical specialties, this step-by-step interactive resource is the perfect accompaniment for the junior surgical SHO.

Scoring system

Calculate by QxMD (Free)

Scoring systems form the backbone of prognostication in surgery; Alvarado, Glasgow, APACHE, SOFA. Calculate by QxMD provides an impressive library of these scoring systems at your fingertips.

Surgical training

eLogbook (£4 per year)

In a world of competency-based progression, no budding surgeon should leave home without the eLogbook application. Enter patients' details via this secure app and ensure good data governance practices, along with contemporaneous updates to your logbook. eLogbook automatically syncs with the Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum Programme (used as a core trainee and onwards).

Best evidence

Journal Club (£6.99)

Beautifully presented summaries of randomised controlled trials across medical disciplines. Search for evidence by disease or specialty. An impressive app.

Figure 1 (Free)

A crowd-sharing anonymised platform for medical imaging and curiosities via case-based learning format. Perfect for exam revision, or simply to test your data interpretation in a fun and easy-to-use format.


[1] Dimond R, Bullock A, Lovatt J, Stacey M. Mobile learning devices in the workplace: 'as much a part of the junior doctors' kit as a stethoscope'? BMC Med Educ. 2016

[2] Ah-kee EY, Khan AA. The use of smartphones by junior doctors. Med Educ Online. 2015 Jun 2;20:28189. doi: 10.3402/meo.v20.28189. eCollection 2015

[3] Patel RK, Sayers AE, Patrick NL, Hughes K, Armitage J, Hunter IA. A UK perspective on smartphone use amongst doctors within the surgical profession. Ann Med Surg (Lond). 2015

This guide was written by Dr James Glasbey, a member of Wesleyan's Junior Advisory Board and Academic Clinical Fellow in General Surgery at the University of Birmingham. The information was correct at the time of writing, and views expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

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