Discovering The World Of Apps For Medical Students

Discovering The World Of Apps For Medical Students

By all accounts medical school is a delirious aggregation of late nights filled with coffee and rote learning. Every point along the journey requires a dizzying amount of knowledge to complete tasks that will one day have life-&-death implications. Until now, books as thick as bricks were the only way for medical students to gain, or brush up, on this knowledge. So it is no surprize that the digital revolution has enjoyed a particularly enthusiastic reception in the dimly lit dormitories of the world’s medical schools.

One med student at the University of Leipzig, Stephan Radzanowski, is so grateful for the efficiency gained through digitization that he has created a website to centralize information about its advantages. “Because I am absolutely fascinated by all the possibilities that this technology offers,” writes Radzanowski on his about me page, “I try to convince all medical students to at least check it out for themselves.” Not everyone is equally excited about what he has found, he writes regretfully, but he is not deterred—he sees himself both as a pioneer and an apologist.

Most prominent on the website are reviews of Android and IOS apps. Radzanowski’s recommends Pschyrembel for example, a digital lexicon of clinical terms. It includes a comprehensive list of 20,000 keywords, 135 videos as well as a broad range of graphics and photographs. In his review he gives readers a feel for the app’s usability and details the immediate and long-term costs involved.

Because the app doctor is not sponsored by any of the organisations mentioned, his reviews are that much more authentic. For instance, when he endorses the “KittelCoach” app, which provides downloadable checklists for surgery, it is believable. He is writing from the proverbial trenches—as opposed a journalist/reviewer who is inevitably doomed to an outsider’s perspective.

Predictably, an anatomy app makes it to the top five list as well. Radzanowski is effusive about the thousands of annotated diagrams that have been condensed into a single interface called the Sobotta Atlas der Anatomie. The best thing, according to the 28 year-old, is that the entries are linked, providing a more integrated learning experience.

Apps are not the only media featured on the site. A range of English and German podcasts are mentioned too. Radzanowski’s top pick is MedPod101, a humorous audio learning collection in which a doctor diagnoses patients while imitating their accents.

Low tech alternatives have not been left behind either. He includes a list of books that have inspired him along the way, some more serious than others. An amusing addition is Gifted Hands by Ben Carson who, lest we forget, was a successful neurosurgeon before he became a comical Republican presidential candidate.

The site is as useful to qualified doctors as it is to medical students. After all, contrary to popular belief, physicians don’t know everything about all aspects of medicine. They are highly specialized individuals who know a lot about their particular area of expertise and very little about everything else. And it is for “everything else” that a pocket-sized digital helper can come in very handy.


T L Andrews


TL Andrews is a multi-media journalist based in Berlin. He produces features for radio, television and print outlets with a focus on German and European issues.

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  • Dr Knut Schroeder

    Thanks so much for reviewing the website and sharing the info with us. I’ve just checked out the site – it’s excellent.