In 2014 all the buzz is about medical information at your fingertips seems to focus on tweets and apps. Some of the emergency medicine periodicals even have a monthly column on tweets and others on apps, but when is the last time you saw them do a pocket book review? Yes, I mean one made of paper. Many seasoned emergency physicians will tell you that they still use a few small pocketbooks rather than their smart phone when they need to look something up quickly. For many of us there is just not time during a busy shift to consult a textbook or an internet article. We need something quicker when we need to refresh our memory or double check something – something that takes about a minute: a one-minute consult.
SEE LISTS BELOW FOR ADVANTAGES OF APPS AND OF POCKETBOOKS AND FOR A LIST OF SOME OF THE POCKETBOOKS MANY OF YOUR COLLEAGUES ARE USING.
Advantages of Smartphone Apps:
- Saves space: multiple “books” in one device
- More current: most are updated more frequently than books
- Speed (sometimes): word completion and hotlinks
Advantages of Pocketbooks:
- Cost: usually less expensive than similar apps with no annual fee
- Reliability: often better researched than apps
- Always on: no battery, doesn’t brake when dropped
- Layout: often better organized
- Modifiable: easily annotated in the margins or with post-its
- Speed: flip the page, easily bookmarked, no updates to upload
EM Books – General:
- Tarascon Adult Emergency Medicine, $19.95: good charts and images, longest track record, BUT missing many topics and requires separate book for pediatrics
- Quick Essentials: Emergency Medicine, $16.80: many more topics than other books including pediatrics and OB/GYN, succinct, good charts and images, BUT many abbreviations
- Pocket Emergency Medicine, $59.99: durable, well organized, and succinct BUT expensive, a bit bulky and missing many topics
Pocket Pharmacopoeias & Antibiotic Guides:
- Tarascon Pocket Pharmacopoeia, classic edition, $19.95: thorough, BUT no antibiotic guide and minimal side effect and contraindication data and is designed for internal medicine
- A to Z Pocket Emergency Pharmacopoeia, $12.00: alphabetical format easy to use, each entry has side effects & contraindications PLUS contains an antibiotic guide and sections on sedation and drug toxicities and is designed for emergency medicine
- The Sanford Guide to Antimicrobial Therapy, $19.99: thorough guide for antibiotics with much more antibiotic information than other pocketbooks, BUT does not include all the other classes of medications
An ounce of prevention is better than 6 hours stuck in the ER. Read and learn from the mistakes of others (with a laugh here and there). Here are over 100 things not to do unless you want to end up as a patient in the ER. Like the Worst Case Scenario Handbook only more practical. Like The Darwin Awards only more common. If you work in the ED you probably know all of this, but your friends and family probably don’t; tell them about this book so they can avoid a visit to the ED from injury or illness, rather than come to you for advice afterwards.
THIS BOOK COULD PREVENT PAIN AND SUFFERING OR EVEN SAVE THE LIFE OF SOMEONE YOU LOVE.
Well, maybe I exaggerated a bit, but it is in the Top 50 Must-Read Books for Nurses in 2012
While this may be a sometimes humorous account of true stories from the ER, it also reminds us that one bad decision could change our lives. The book is full of pictures, important phone numbers, and a chart with normal vital signs and lab values as well as a schedule for adult vaccinations and cancer screening tests.
We all know medical research can be biased, especially when it is funded by a company that is selling something, but conflicts of interests are caused by more than just financial greed. There are many other factors influence the so called “results” that medical research produces and brings to our attention. One huge one is due to the need to “publish or perish” faced by many academicians. For a healthy dose of skepticism read the article at the link below.