Up to Date comes to multiple mobile devices
Up to Date is one of the most respected medical reference tools available. They describe the system as a clinical decision support system that helps clinicians throughout the world provide the best patient care. They do their best to use current evidence to answer clinical questions quickly and easily with a tool designed to be used at the point of care. There have been studies suggesting that Up to Date saves clinician time, improves outcomes and lowers health care costs.
Nearly two years ago, Up to Date released an application allowing a user with an active subscription to access all of the material available on their website on iOS devices. The system is very well laid out for the smaller screens on iPhones or iPods and is quite amazing on an iPad, making full use of the higher screen resolution.
About a month ago, Up to Date released a mobile application for the Android platform. Like the iOS version of the viewer app, the search, calculators, and other features are adjusted for the smaller screen size of these devices compared to desktop or laptop computers. The search function lists suggestions matching the letters you type in as you do so. This greatly reduces the amount of typing needed to find a topic on the "keyboard" of the mobile device. The topics that match are listed with those considered most important at the top. The system clearly cannot read the user’s mind so the order may not include the topic one is interested in on the first page, but scrolling to find it is easy. One can also include additional search words to improve the matching.
Each topic, using the Android application, begins with a table of contents and a link to a summary and recommendations document. There are also links near the top to see the names of contributors to the topic, disclosures and the date the topic was last updated. On an iPad, the table of contents can only be brought up by clicking "Show Outline".
Once in the formal document, all of the sections are present in the order listed in the table of contents, and there is no need to go back to the table unless one wants to quickly find a section distant from the one being read. Getting back to the table of contents is as easy as pressing the back arrow on an Android device.
As with the web version of Up to Date, one earns CME credit by reviewing topics. The overall CME is accumulated independent of what devices one uses, so web and mobile viewer use all contribute to a user’s overall CME credit.
The application requires a user to sign on only the first time they use the mobile app. After this, the system knows who the user is.
The topic information and details are not stored on the local device, so an internet connection, either via WiFi or via 3G/4G cell access, is needed.
The calculators all seem to be formatted very nicely for use on a mobile device. The font size used is adjustable. The result of a calculation can be copied into the clipboard.
The mobile apps are apparently faster than using the web version of Up to Date in the mobile device browser, and the formatting of information is better. The applications are free, although, as noted, they are not usable without an Up to Date subscription.
It does not appear that the Android version can be installed on a Kindle Fire although there may be a way to do so. It is not currently available through Amazon.
More information is available at www.uptodate.com/home/about/mobile-access.html.