*A new version of the BMJ Best Practice App has been released for 2017. Please see our blog post for further details of the new features*


Name: BMJ Best Practice

BMJ iconPublisher: BMJ Group

Devices: smartphones and tablets with Android OS 4.0 or later and iPhones and iPads with iOS version 7.0 or later. We tested this app on an iPad.

Available from: iTunes App Store or Google Play

Price: Free to download – St George’s, University of London students and staff have access to full content via the Library subscription.

Available to SGUL students and staff only. Details on how to access the full content are included at the end of the post.

Type of information: Clinical decision making support tool.

For: UK healthcare professionals and healthcare students.

Main Pros: Free access to the full content for St George’s, University of London staff and students. Content is available offline after the initial download. Links to relevant guidelines and papers related to topics.

Main Cons: A personal subscription is necessary for those without institutional access. The app requires approximately 1.5GB of space when full content has been downloaded.

An in-depth look

BMJ’s Best Practice app gives access to reliable information and guidelines related to hundreds of medical conditions that can support you when making clinical decisions. The app is based on the web-based BMJ site, Best Practice, and it enables users to gain easy access to the content whilst on the move. Content is downloaded onto the device, which can take up a fair amount of space, but it does mean that you can access the information when offline – a convenient feature for those unable to connect to wifi whilst on the go.

The app is fairly intuitive to use and when you first access the app it will give you pointers to familiarise you with the various functions. The homepage displays an alphabetical list of the content with the ability to narrow the list to conditions or symptoms. There is also a side bar that allows the user to browse topics by relevant specialties and the app’s content is also searchable by using the ‘filter topics’ search bar or the magnifying glass in the top right hand corner, which searches across the full text of the content.

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The topics themselves are broken into relevant subsections, usually with the first screen providing an overview. Subsections can include diagnosis, treatment and follow-up advice, as well as links to relevant guidelines, resources and references that can be accessed through the app. Once you have accessed the topic you can swipe through the sections like an electronic article or book as well as using the sidebar to jump to a section. Additionally, any references are clickable so you can access the full reference easily.

The app allows you to bookmark topics and to make notes on relevant sections, which allows you to collate the information in a meaningful way. Notes and bookmarks can also be tagged to allow a greater sense of organisation and to pull together related information. These features are particularly useful if you might need to present case information or refer back to your research at any point.

Whilst the app is created by the British Medical Journal, the content is written and peer reviewed by medical professionals, which should ensure a high standard of information. You can access information about the author(s) of a certain topic by looking under Resources and then Credits.

How to access the full content subscription

The app itself is free to download and contains 20 free sample topics to get you started. However, SGUL Staff and Students have access to the full content of the Best Practice app through the Library’s subscription.

If you are eligible to access the full content then you should follow these instructions to set up access on your device:

  1. Create a ‘My Best Practice’ personal account on the BMJ Best Practice website whilst using a University networked computer. *You must use a computer in one of the library computer rooms to complete this process*. Connecting via WiFi or one of the library’s laptops will not authenticate your account.

Note: It is important to remember the email address and password you use to create this account as they will be needed later.

  1. Download the app. It is available for free from the iTunes app store and Google Play.
  2. Launch the app. When asked to log in, use the same email address and password you used to create a ‘My Best Practice’ personal account. You do not need to use an institutional number.
  3. ‘All topics’ will automatically begin to download. It is recommended to download this content over a good wifi connection due to the file size.

You will need to log in to your My Best Practice personal account from a library computer every six months to renew your subscription. If you do not do this you will not be able to continue using the app. 

Still having problems accessing the full content? Double check that you are following the guidelines above and if you still cannot access the full content subscription contact us at library@sgul.ac.uk.

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