General Medical History, developed by Clinical Cliffs, is a free iPhone app that's great for new doctors and medical students looking to get sharp on protocol for routine patient visits, but doesn't offer much to the veteran doc.
The main screen of General Medical History is clear, easy to read and chronologically lays out a patient visit with a series of questions starting with an introduction and the point of a visit. The list is broken down into twelve topics to cover with a patient: Background, Patient Information, Presenting Complaint, History of Presenting Complaint, Current Medications, Allergies, Past Medical History, Past Surgical History, Family History, Social History, Systems Reviews, and Closure Topics.
Each of these topics is broken down into a subset of more specific questions in order to provide the student with a more in-depth understanding of the patient's health. For instance, the "Presenting Complaint" topic is broken up into another series of questions that include location of pain, type (burning, ache, pulsating pain), severity (includes a 1-10 scale), onset and duration.
There isn't a feature that allows the user to input a patient's data, limiting the app's value for the experienced physician. The question boxes can be highlighted in blue by tapping the screen - a feature that could be used for keeping one's place - but the ability collect and store patient information is not included.
As with most apps, depending on how you hold the iPhone (horizontally or vertically) determines how the information is displayed. With the General Medical History app, there isn't a real noticeable difference besides the ability to see more of the list in the vertical view, and less in the horizontal.
This app is currently designed as a reference tool, which is a good starting point. If Clinical Cliffs releases new versions of the app, adding a data input and storing feature would greatly enhance its functionality and practicality. A further evolution of the concept could include data exchange with an EMR/EHR - but perhaps that's a lot to ask of a free app.