Daily App: BugDrug is a visual cheat sheet for prescribing antibiotics


BugDrug was created as a cheat sheet for medical students and residents who needed a handy resource on prescribing antibiotics. The app is designed to help physicians-in-training learn which antibiotics are effective against which pathogenic bacteria.

BugDrug uses a pie chart to display common bacteria encountered in a clinical setting. Bacteria are grouped by type in the chart -- Gram Positive, Gram Negative, Anaerobes and Atypical -- and are listed individually on the right side of the app. You can tap on this right-side list to select individual or groups of bacteria by disease in the pie chart.


The left side of the app has a tappable list of antibiotics. You can select an antibiotic and the app will show which bacteria it covers. Green means it is covered, yellow means it should be used with caution, and grey means the bacteria is resistant to that type of drug. If you had a patient with a urinary tract infection, for example, you could click on urinary tract infection on the right and Amoxicillin on the left to see if that antibiotic would be an effective treatment.


BugDrug's pie chart is extremely useful for visualizing antibiotic coverage, but the app could use some polish. The pie chart graphic is a bit pixelated and could use a refresh. The app also could use a longer list of diseases and maybe a few more antibiotics. It also would be handy to be able to tap on a bacteria in the pie chart and see the antibiotics that are effective against it. Nonetheless, BugDrug is still a useful tool both for medical students and patients, who would appreciate the app's ease of use.

BugDrug is available for 99-cents from the iOS App Store. It's compatible with the iPhone and iPad. It works better on the iPad, but it supports pinch-to-zoom and has a movable canvas to make it easier to visualize the pie chart on the smaller screen of the iPhone.