Packing Your Digital Go Bag - Section 4: Apps for Medical and Health Information

Section 4: Apps for Medical and Health Information


In this section, we will explore some important apps that provide medical and health information.

Image of a hand holding a smartphone, with various medical-oriented icons flying from the screen, indicating health information.




PubMed is a database developed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at NLM. PubMed provides free access to MEDLINE, the premier bibliographic database from NLM containing citations and author abstracts from various biomedical journals published in the United States and worldwide.

PubMed has millions of references or citations to articles from peer-reviewed medical journals. Currently over 5,000 journals are indexed in PubMed. In addition, NLM maintains PubMed Central (PMC), a repository of full-text articles that are available for free. Not all journals and publishers participate in PMC, but there are currently over two million articles available.

PubMed includes major disaster medicine and public health journals such as Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, and more.

PubMed is available as a mobile Web site.

Search results include an abstract of the article and a link to it on the publisher's Web site. Many articles can be downloaded to an e-reader for offline reading. It can be helpful to download articles in advance to read on the way to the deployment site.

PubMed Mobile Web Site displayed on an Android phone. The homepage is displayed, with a search box at the top of the window.

PubMed mobile Web site homepage


PubMed Mobile site on an Android phone, with search results displayed for the search term 'mass vaccination' bioterrorism.

PubMed Search Results

PubReader on an Android phone, displaying the abstract of an article entitled, 'Countermeasures and vaccination against terrorism using smallpox: pre-event and post-event smallpox vaccination and its contraindications.'

Article in PubReader

PDF of a PubMed article on an Android device.

PubMed PDF Article


CDC MMWR Express icon

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Express


The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) series is prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is the agency's primary vehicle for scientific publication of timely, reliable, authoritative, accurate, objective, and useful public health information and recommendations.

The CDC MMWR Express app allows users to search for summaries by MMWR report or by subject (for example, salmonella or Zika).

Features include:

  • Rapidly loads new unread articles when you swipe down on the main list of articles
  • Automatically marks each unread article with a blue dot, which disappears once you have viewed the summary blue box
  • Enables the sharing of articles via e-mail, text message, Facebook®, and Twitter®
  • Provides easy access to full articles on the main MMWR site, if you would like more information


MMWR Express app, displaying articles from Mar 4, 2016 and Feb 26, 2016, volume 65 numbers 8 and 7 respectively. Topics include information on Zika Virus, foodborne botulism, and sugar-sweetened beverage intake.

MMWR Express Article List

MMWR Express add, displaying the summary of a report about Zika virus.

MMWR Express Article Summary



Key Points

In this section, we covered the following main points:

  • PubMed, available as a mobile Web site, provides more than 27 million citations for biomedical literature.
  • CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) provides scientific publication of timely, reliable, authoritative public health information and recommendations.

Key Apps for Medical and Health Information:

  • PubMed
  • CDC MMWR Express