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Smarter Surgeons - Ten smartphone apps for Junior Doctors

By James Glaseby

Smarter Surgeons - Ten smartphone apps for Junior Doctors

Life in hospital can be tough for Junior Doctors in surgery. With bleeps firing, theatres calling, and seniors rounding, it is 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

1. 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!

2. 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

3. 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.

4. Visiblebody - £35

Where a phenomenal level of detail meets a striking level of simplicity, VisibleBody emerges as the premium interactive 3D anatomy application. The perfect accompaniment to your MRCS revision, or simply to cushion in-theatre grillings by your consultant.

Scoring Systems

5. Qx Calculate - £Free

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

6. P-POSSUM - £Free

National emergency laparotomy audit guidelines require all patients undergoing emergency laparotomy to undergo a preoperative P-POSSUM scoring. This is the first question the anaesthetic or surgical consultant on the phone will ask - make sure you're prepared!

Surgical Training

7. 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).

8. SafeRota - £Free

Promises to increase patient safety through improved accountability. Good way of tracking your working hours and practices.

Best Evidence

9. Journal Club - £Free

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

10. 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 views expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

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