As a new nurse practitioner, one of my clinical areas of weakness was that of ordering and interpreting labs tests. Matching a patient’s clinical presentation up with the required diagnostic studies wasn’t easy. Ordering unnecessary labs meant increasing costs for my patient. Omitting helpful lab studies could lead to a missed diagnosis or misdiagnosis. Furthermore, once the labs were complete, what was the significance of abnormal results?
As nurse practitioners, both new grads and those with significant experience, it is inevitable that questions will come up related to ordering and interpreting labs tests. Fortunately for NPs, there are a few convenient, low cost apps designed to help. At ThriveAP, we road tested several lab interpretation apps to determine which are the most useful resources for nurse practitioners. Here are our top picks. Drum roll, please!
1. Lab Values Medical Reference
The Lab Values Medical Reference app is well laid out, user friendly, and contains distilled information relevant to everyday clinical practice. Nurse practitioners can easily navigate the app locating the content they need. Lab tests are organized by category as well as alphabetically making the test of interest simple to find. Differential diagnoses for both increased and decreased lab results are listed helping direct the NP in using the lab value to arrive at a diagnosis.
2. Medical Lab Tests
Medical Lab Tests offers almost the same functionality as our top pick, with the exception that differential diagnoses based on increased and decreased values are not as clearly laid out. Nurse practitioners will find Medical Lab Tests a valuable supplement for its description of the pathology behind each lab study.
3. Pocket Lab Values
A succinct, yet complete source of information, Pocket Lab Values is an excellent resource for the nurse practitioner on-the-go. The app clearly lays out a description of the lab study, normal values, and differential diagnoses for increased and decreased values. As an added perk, Pocket Lab Values includes a notes section that outlines tips for correcting abnormal values, guidelines for drawing and storing the lab specimen, and other bits of practical information related to each study.
Which lab interpretation apps have you found helpful as a nurse practitioner?