Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Article Comments

Contraception i-Pocketcards: Med Student Cheat Sheets For iPhone

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


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.


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.



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?”


Oral Contraceptive Pills:

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


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?


Emergency Contraception:

  • A table comparing three common methods for emergency contraception.


Intrauterine Contraception:

  • Indications and general information about IUDs.

Quickstart Algorithms:

  • Directives from on how to initiate contraception on request.


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).


OCP Formulations:

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


Non-Oral Formulations:

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


  • 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.


  • 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).


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*

You may also like these posts

    None Found

Read comments »

Comments are closed.

Return to article »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »