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Contraception i-Pocketcards: Med Student Cheat Sheets For iPhone

“A baby crying is the best birth control.” – Anonymous

TitlePage

Despite a world full of crying babies, access to effective and timely contraception remains a pressing women’s health issue.
All students in the health professions learn the basics of contraception.  Most health care professionals will prescribe contraception at some point in their training or clinical practice.  Some clinicians make contraception and family planning the primary focus of their practice.

Contraception i-pocketcards is a resource for each of these health care providers – from the medical student working his first gynecologic clinic to the experienced ED doctor wondering which emergency contraceptive method to use in her patient with a history of DVT.

Reviewed on the iPod Touch.  Also available on the iPhone and iPad.

If you visit a medical book store, you may notice the rack of medical pocket cards: EKG interpretation, 2011 Antibiotic guide, medical Spanish, and many others.  As a medical student, these cards may have been your lifeline – they were mine.    Likely among these cards is one related to prescribing contraception. Contraception i-pocketcards, like many good medical apps, is one that effectively replaces another white-coat-cluttering object.  For $3.99, this app contains all of the information about contraception found on six pocket cards.
ClassicView

Organization

Content is viewed in two ways.  The classic view (seen above) is what the physical pocket cards look like.  The table of contents (TOC, seen below) view is more adapted to a mobile device, allowing the user to navigate through menus instead of zooming in and out of pocket card images.  Unfortunately, the TOC view still requires some zooming.

TOC2

Content

The content in Contraception i-pocketcards is surprisingly complete for an app in this price range, and the breadth of information makes this app useful for beginning learners and experienced clinicians alike.

Content includes:

Contraceptive Methods:

  • A table comparing the effectiveness of various contraceptive methods.  For those times in clinic when a patient asks “which pill is the most effective?”

Compare

Oral Contraceptive Pills:

  • The basics.  General prescribing information about contraceptive pills, their use and safety.

Types

CIs for Estrogen Contraception:

  • A list of contraindications for estrogen-containing contraceptive methods.

Contraception in Special Cases:

  • Answers questions like: Which pill is safe in nursing mothers?  How much estrogen is safe in older women?

SpecialCases

Emergency Contraception:

  • A table comparing three common methods for emergency contraception.

EC

Intrauterine Contraception:

  • Indications and general information about IUDs.

Quickstart Algorithms:

  • Directives from www.reproductiveaccess.org on how to initiate contraception on request.

Quickstart

WHO Eligibility Criteria:

  • A table of World Health Organization guidelines for contraceptive safety in women with various co-morbid conditions (e.g. HIV, cirrhosis, breast cancer) or who are taking medications with potential drug interactions (e.g. antiretrovirals, anticonvulsants).

WHO

OCP Formulations:

  • A table matching the oral formulation with brand names, categorized by contraceptive class.

Formulations

Non-Oral Formulations:

  • Characteristics of injectable, implantable, transdermal, and ring contraceptive devices.

Likes:

  • Adequate citation of sources and inclusion of national and international guidelines.
  • Broad audience: this app is useful at many levels of medical training and in many clinical settings.
  • Broad content: includes basic information on most contraceptive methods, and in-depth information on oral contraception.
  • Tables make information quickly accessible.
  • Unlike physical pocket cards, this one-time purchase gets updated periodically.

Dislikes:

  • User interface could be improved.  A drawback of the table views is the small text that requires zooming in to see small text.
  • Important contraception topics are missing or sparsely mentioned, including: postpartum contraception, sterilization, and algorithms for initiating emergency contraception.
  • In future versions, I would like to see more information to help patients and clinicians choose a method (non-contraceptive benefits, side effects, key questions to ask patients).

Conclusion:

Providers looking for a mobile alternative to more exhaustive resources (like Managing Contraception For Your Pocket or “The Red Book”) will find this app’s content incomplete.
Nonetheless I recommend this app to students learning the basics of contraception and primary care and emergency physicians who prescribe emergency contraception or OCPs.
At $3.99, this app provides a wealth of information – the nuts and bolts of contraception – and replaces the physical pocket card that we might otherwise carry.

Link to the App Store: Contraception i-pocketcards ($3.99)

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*


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