A review of the medical app Docphin using the FPM “SPPACES” criteria.
Fam Pract Manag. 2014 Mar-Apr;21(2):29.
Author disclosure: no relevant financial affiliations disclosed.
The Docphin app facilitates mobile access to full-text content from more than 5,000 medical journals and health news stories in popular publications.
Platforms available: iOS and Android
Pertinence to primary care practice: Keeping up with practice-changing medical research and being aware of health news stories that patients are watching or reading are both major challenges for family physicians. The Docphin app streamlines both processes by allowing physicians to put together a personalized digital reading list of their favorite journals and browse through a frequently updated collection (“Medstream”) of widely read articles in scholarly and popular publications. Journal articles can be viewed in text or PDF format, or in some cases, physicians may be directed to the journal's website to read the article.
Authoritativeness/accuracy/currency of information: Since all of the information in this app comes straight from the journal or source publication without critical appraisal, it isn't easy for clinicians to separate the wheat from the chaff. The app does feature a useful collection of “landmark articles” from high-impact journals, but it does not explain how these articles are selected. The news stories in Medstream are current, and a nice feature links these stories to the relevant original research studies. However, article listings in some primary care journals, such as American Family Physician and Family Practice Management, lag by up to a month from the current issues.
Cost: Free to all users; however, users without institutional library subscriptions will be unable to fully utilize this app.
Ease of use: It was simple to set up a new user account and link it to my institutional library's subscriptions. All of the journals that I read regularly were available to add to my reading list, in addition to several others in my areas of interest. I could consistently read research abstracts by clicking on the titles of articles, but sometimes could not access the full-text articles, even in journals to which my institutional library subscribes.
Sponsors: Docphin.com received funding from Rock Health, a company that invests in digital health startups.
Although it isn't perfect, this valuable tool for keeping current can help physicians manage that “coffee table” stack of journals and newspapers that most of us never get around to reading.
APP REVIEW CRITERIA
S – Source or developer of app
P – Platforms available
P – Pertinence to primary care practice
A – Authoritativeness/accuracy/currency of information
C – Cost
E – Ease of use
S – Sponsor(s)
About the Author
Dr. Lin, a member of the Family Practice Management Editorial Advisory Board and associate deputy editor for American Family Physician online, is a member of the AAFP Commission on Health of the Public and Science, associate professor of family medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine, and a family physician at MedStar Health in Washington, D.C.
Copyright © 2014 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
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