5 Best Mobile Apps for Medical Residents

January 12, 2024
Any resident will tell you that the first six months of your intern year aren’t about learning medicine, but getting organized and learning how to be efficient. Of course, those things can be hard to achieve. Fortunately, there are lots of easy apps and tech that’ll enable you to streamline and automate your day so you can focus on taking care of patients.
In this post, I’d like to share some tech tips that will help you navigate the first year of residency. Here’s five apps that’ll enable you to hit the ground running as a new resident!

My Favorite 5 Apps for Residency


Massachusetts General Hospital and the American Heart Association teamed up to make a stellar app that guides you through code situations. It’s called “AHA ACLS” and features four ACLS algorithms: cardiac arrest, tachycardia, bradycardia, and post-cardiac arrest care. 

The cardiac arrest algorithm is interactive, meaning you can tally how many shocks, rounds of CPR, and doses of epinephrine you’ve given.

Here’s a snapshot of the app: 

It also has drop down menus to explain dosages of other code medicines like lidocaine, amiodarone, bicarb, and calcium. 

Another tab includes a handy list of the “reversible causes” of cardiac arrest which are known as the “Hs and Ts” to help you think through a differential quickly and easily.

Here’s what all that looks like: 

Aside from informational tabs, there are buttons you can press to keep track of timing and how you’re progressing through the algorithm. 

For example, at two minutes of CPR, the counter will turn red and prompt you to reevaluate the rhythm. If it’s VFib/V-tach, you’ll defibrillate the patient. When you do so, you’ll press the shock button in the app to help you keep track of how many shocks you’ve delivered. Then you hit the CPR button again, and the clock restarts the two-minute CPR timer. 

Here’s a snapshot: 

There’s also an option to use a ticker that counts (out loud) at the pace of effective compressions. 

Anyway, this app only costs $2.99 a year and is well worth it. I highly recommend it!

2. MDCalc

Another must have app is MDCalc. It’s available online but is also very convenient in app format. This tool is great for calculating all sorts of things you need on a daily basis. 

My frequently-used equations include creatinine clearance for drug dosing, Free Water Deficit for hypernatremia (as well as a separate calculation for how fast you can run certain fluids to safely correct the abnormality), CHADS-VASC and HAS-BLED scores for new Afib patients, STOP-BANG for assessing sleep apnea risk, the Ganzoni Equation for repleting iron stores…the list goes on and on! 

As an IM resident, my frequently-used equations skew a certain way, but you can save “favorites” for your most helpful equations based on your specialty.

3. UpToDate

It should come as no surprise that my most frequently-used app in residency is UpToDate (UTD). Your residency program should pay for you to use the database, and many EMRs connect directly to it. 

There are articles for every ailment, which are conveniently outlined by differential diagnosis, treatments, complications, etc. There’s even a “back to the basics” section written in layman’s terms. 

You can print out these helpful guides and hand them to your patients to help them better understand their disease or treatment. I use UTD daily, and find it especially helpful overnight when there are fewer colleagues around to ask for advice!

4. Lexicomp

Technically Lexicomp is part of UTD , but it warrants its own section. It’s a database similar to UTD that’s dedicated exclusively to drugs. 

You can find recommended drug dosing by indication type. For example, if you’re ordering cefepime for a hospitalized patient, you can see what the antibiotic dosing is for pneumonia versus a UTI. 

Furthermore, if a patient has reduced kidney or liver function you can find the adjusted doses very easily. It also lists common side effects, interactions, and pregnancy warnings. 

5. Doximity

Another must-have app is Doximity. Medical students may recognize the name because Doximity has a nice search tool to learn about different residency programs. It also has a somewhat controversial yearly ranking of them. 

More importantly for us, Doximity is a great resource because it allows you to call patients from your cell phone without giving them your personal information. All you need to do is register your clinic or hospital contact information in the app. Then when you dial a patient’s number, their caller ID will show your clinic’s office phone rather than your personal number. 

I’ve personally used this feature countless times when I’m chart checking at home and need to call my patients to give them test results. It saves me from having to go back to the office to use the landline or end up giving out my cell number to patients. Priceless!

Some Advice About Tech/Apps for New Residents 

Let’s end with some general tech/app advice that’ll make your life as a resident a whole lot easier. 

Here’s four things I wish somebody had told me when I was a new resident: 

1. It’s good to have a dictation app.

The best known dictation tool in medicine is called “Dragon,” but you should take advantage of whatever your institution has to offer. Many hospitals will have dictation microphones attached to computers that make the process effortless. 

There are also apps that include a recording/microphone feature, so you can utilize the software at home. Many students and residents are faster with dictation than with typing, so this app has the potential to save you a lot of time on the computer, which you can then devote to patient interactions.

2. Get the mobile version of your electronic medical record (EMR) system.

You’ll want to make sure you have the app version of whatever EMR your hospital uses. While using a computer (and ideally two monitors!) will always be superior, having chart access in your pocket can come in handy. 

A computer won’t always be at your fingertips (I’m looking at you, emergency department) so putting in quick orders from your phone is a great option. I also rely on my phone during rounds to pull up results that hadn’t come back yet during pre-rounding, so we have the most current data when deciding on a patient’s plan. 

3. It’s good to have a scheduling app.

The most popular scheduling app among residency programs is called “Amion,” as in, “Am I on call?”

This app lets you know what rotation you’re on and when, as well as the call schedule. It’s definitely worth having on your phone, and be sure to connect Amion to your Google calendar so that changes in it will automatically populate. 

4. Be sure you have effective study tools.

Finally, medicine entails a lifelong pursuit of knowledge. As you progress through your career, learning the basics from STEP resources, Anki, and study banks will give way to attending specialty conferences and reading journal articles. 

We’ll focus on the former because as a resident you still have to pass STEP 3 and your board exam. Your life is more “on-the-go” and you have less dedicated study time than you did as a medical student, so your study resources should be more mobile too. 

I’m a big proponent of the Anki app, which syncs automatically with the version on your computer.

Also, if you use Rosh Review Qbanks, I highly recommend downloading the (free!) Rosh Review mobile app so that your question bank is at your fingertips. You can create custom exams, read up on certain subjects, and scroll through helpful pictures and diagrams, all on the go. It’s a tool that’s perfect for the busy life of a resident!

Take a look inside the app:

Further Reading

Hopefully, this tour through my favorite medicine apps will help you streamline your workday and study schedule. As doctors, we spend too much time sitting at the computer rather than sitting with our patients. The ultimate goal of these tools is to get you the information you need as easily as possible, so you can minimize your time away from the bedside, where you’re most valuable!

Looking for more (free!) tips for residency? Check out these other posts on the Rosh Review blog!

Rosh Review is a board review company providing Qbanks that boost your confidence for your boards and beyond. Get started with a Rosh Review free trial to the Qbank of your choiceno credit card required! Gain access to board-style practice questions, detailed explanations, beautiful medical images, and more.

By Amanda Tosi, MD

Categories: MD/DO ,


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