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A Dermatologist's Top Apps for Residency Survival

Written by Azeen Sadeghian, MD, FAAD

Residency today is dramatically different than in years past. One major reason is that now we have mobile applications offering convenient access to countless clinical and educational resources. There are many wonderful apps out there, but here are some of my personal favorites. 

1. Medscape

Medscape allows you to quickly look up medication doses, has medical calculators, and also lists a synopsis of various diseases.

2. VisualDx

The differential builder is essential for any resident, as is the machine learning add-on feature DermExpert. This app is the best way to broaden your differential on the fly (think after-hours consult), look up treatments, and compare similar diagnoses. It also serves as an atlas while you’re studying. Not to  mention the handy quiz tool—a fun way to pass time while you’re waiting on your next latte! The VisualDx mobile app is included with your subscription.

3. Your Electronic Medical Resource (EMR) app

It never fails; you will need to access your EMR app to either upload an image, review a note, or access a test result on the fly. Having easy access to your EMR is essential.

4. Board review question banks

Question banks make board review and studying for your in-service training exam a lot easier. The questions are easiest to study on larger screens, such as a desktop, laptop, or tablet. Although some are technically unavailable as true apps, most are supported on mobile web browsers and can be easily bookmarked. Derm In-Review is a commonly used question bank. You can also find resident questions through ASDS Learn portal. There are other question banks, such as AAD's Board Prep Plus, but these require a subscription. Because the question banks available change with time and many require a subscription, it's a great idea to ask different upper-level residents which ones they find most useful.

5. ExpertConsult built by Inkling

Many of your dermatology textbooks come with a code that allows remote digital access to these books. This can be accessed via desktop, cell phone, or tablet. Residency involves learning and nothing will ever replace your textbooks!

And of course you will inevitably use other non-medical apps to get you through residency based on your personal preferences and interests. Such as apps for note-taking, music, restaurants (OpenTable is particularly good for when you’re in a new city), podcasts, and wellness. And don’t forget Uber or Lyft, as well!

My advice is to take advantage of technological advances and all the great resources available to you while you’re going through residency. These apps can make your life easier, whether they directly relate to your studies or indirectly. We’re all human and residency is a hectic time; it doesn’t hurt to use these tools to make your life a little easier. 


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About VisualDx

VisualDx is an award-winning diagnostic clinical decision support system that has become the standard electronic resource at more than half of U.S. medical schools and more than 1,500 hospitals and institutions nationwide.  VisualDx combines clinical search with the world's best medical image library, plus medical knowledge from experts to help with diagnosis, treatment, self-education, and patient communication. Expanding to provide diagnostic decision support across General Medicine, the new VisualDx brings increased speed and accuracy to the art of diagnosis. Learn more at