DynaMed Plus App Review

by Jay Luxenberg, MD

Dr. Gieseke writes an excellent article in this issue supporting having access to clinical references available at the bedside or at least within a long term care facility. In particular, he shares his experience with UpToDate. I also subscribe to UpToDate and  like Dr. Gieseke, I have had a similarly excellent experience with it. Ever curious, I have also been using a different resource, DynaMed Plus. This has been a membership benefit from the American College of Physicians. While it is available to me for no additional cost, I have been comparing it to UpToDate. I have used the web based product and the IOS app. They also have an app for Android. 

Both UpToDate and DynaMed Plus download updated information periodically, and I haven’t noticed a consistent difference in how rapidly they have been updated to reflect new studies or newly identified warnings. They both seem to be very much “up to date”. I use these apps for two main purposes – to answer specific questions that come up in the course of clinical work, and as a leisure time reading to help me stay current. It’s great to be able to catch up during otherwise wasted time, like while waiting for my number to be called at the deli.  The DynaMed Plus app presents with a single search field, much like Google’s home page. That is great for quickly answering a question, but less useful than UpToDate’s “What’s New” and “Practice Changing Updates” sections for more general attempts at staying current. The search function on DynaMed Plus is very efficient, however, in finding what I want. Searching for ‘sprint” immediately brought me the current recommendations for blood pressure management based on the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) trial. It also brought me “Achilles tendon rupture”, which is a problem for sprinters. How cool! Of course, UpToDate produced similar results.  I am not sure if I would consider paying for DynaMed Plus, as I benefit from the CME that UpToDate offers, but it is nice to be able to use both apps. I remember when as a house officer we had big hardcover textbooks chained to prevent them disappearing, and I would refer to them when on call and I had a question. Having that available in my pocket, frequently updated and with references and data on the strength of recommendations is simply a modern miracle.