Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

June 28, 2017
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A formulary that finds it fast

Looking for a smart, easy-to-use drug formulary app? The UBC Med Formulary has become a hit as quickly as it can be downloaded — and that takes less than two minutes.

Developed by students at the University of British Columbia medical school and launched this past February, it’s winning users among residents and practicing doctors as well, not just in BC but across the country, the US and abroad. It’s a Canadian app — a big plus for home-based users, but its charms clearly go well beyond that.

An effort has been made to present only that information that’s most germane. No more slogging through reams of material that’s less than pertinent, ample proof that brevity is a virtue.

Screenshots on the iTunes apps store illustrate how the app works using Doxycycline as an example. But why bother. Better to simply download it for free and take a few minutes to play with it. Don’t be put off by the “Student Drug Formulary” heading: you’ll quickly discover that the database is highly useful to busy practitioners.

Users can browse by drug class or category, check for updates and even take a quiz. For example, checking in drug categories for antifungals shows three products: Fluconazole, Nystatin and Terbinafine. Tap on your selection and be shown the mechanism of action, side effects, dosages, indications, contraindications and pharmacokinetics, all contained in a concise three-screen scroll down.

Want to test your knowledge of a given category? Take the quiz. Select a drug and what you wish to be questioned on, for example “What are the contraindications for Amiloride?” Touch “answer” and it appears.

Pros: simplicity of use and a careful edit of the material. It’s concise yet complete enough to cover most eventualities. It’s obviously portable and easily readable on the smallest mobile phone screen.

Kudos to the developers: project lead Matthew Toom, supervisor Stan Bardal with pharmacy consultations from John Lee, Jimmy Tsai and Sufei Wei. Dr Bardal is a senior instructor at UBC, the rest of the team are all UBC med students.


UBC Med Formulary by Matthew Toon
Devices: Android, iPhone, iPad
Cost: free

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