WebMD for Android is probably the best health app around

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 29, 2013
Apps, Google Android

Finding out why your body behaves in a certain way in a situation, or what to do when someone else requires medical attention or first aid, is often not an easy task, provided that you are not a doctor or knowledgeable when it comes to that.

Having an app at hand can save valuable time, as it may provide you with the means to look up information that you require at that point in time.

It all comes down on the other hand on what the app has to offer, and how easy it is to find and go through the information it makes available.

In the case of WebMD for Android, it is excellent both in terms of usability but also in terms of what the application has to offer.

WebMD for Android

The application displays six entry points on start.

  1. Symptom Checker displays a human body which you can use to point at the location that you want information about. You can alternatively switch to list mode here if you prefer that. If you pick chest for instance, the list of symptoms includes difficulty breathing, bruising or discoloration, or food getting stuck.
  2. Conditions offers a huge list of conditions that you may want to retrieve information about. From asthma over breast cancer to mumps and menopause.
  3. Drugs & Treatment displays information about drugs that you may need to take, or consider taking. Uses, side-effects, precautions, interactions and overdose information are displayed for each drug. You can search by name, or by shape, color or imprint which can be useful if you only have the pill available and want to find out more about it.
  4. First Aid information displays a large selection of first aid topics to you. You can access the top list, an A-Z list, or use the search to find topics that you want to look up. As far as topics are concerned, they range from Allergic Reactions over Fainting to choking and bruises.
  5. Local Health Listings enables you to search for physicians, pharmacies and hospitals. This includes a map view and directions based on your current location or primary address. Note that this appears to be US-only at the time of writing.

The information that the app makes available are detailed. Depending on what you look up, you may get an overview article at first -- that includes links to related topics -- as well as information about symptoms and additional articles that cover the subject.

conditions symptoms

Another interesting feature becomes available after you sign up for a free account. Once you have done so and signed in to the app, you can save personal topics of interests so that you can access them faster.

This includes drugs and treatments that apply to you or others, information about conditions or first aid information.

As far as first aid information are concerned, they do always begin with information when to call 911, before information about treatments, prevention and monitoring are displayed.

You can add a pin to the app to protect its information from being accessed by others that may get hold of your mobile phone or tablet.

Closing Words

WebMD for Android is most suitable for people living in the US, and to a lesser degree, to users from other English speaking countries and English speakers.

The information that it makes available are detailed and useful, and can help in many situations. From parents who need to find out what is wrong with a child to situations where you are the first responder to a medical emergency.

The option to save personal favorites in the app is excellent, as you can use the feature to quickly open topics of interest without having to use the search or navigate the app.

Now Read: First Aid for Android helps in emergencies


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  1. BMO said on December 31, 2013 at 4:25 am

    I’ve never understood why people will bash the heck out of WebMD. Yes, stupid people falsely self-diagnose themselves with outlandish diseases and conditions. Stupid people do stupid things, this is nothing new. But it (webmd) also allows people to discover and learn things about conditions that might be extremely rare, and then seek treatment for it. Isn’t there some quote about a machine is only as good as it’s user? Ironically I have a cold as I write this. But the quote/line still remains true. WebMD can be a powerful tool to be used for the benefit of… ahh eff it I’m too sick to complete this. You know what I’m saying. Idiots will be idiots.

    Happy New Years everyone =)

  2. Gregg DesElms said on December 30, 2013 at 2:28 am

    THE HEADLINE: WebMD for Android is probably the best health app around

    MY RESPONSE: Except, maybe, for iTriage. It’s to WebMD as Epocrates is to Drugs.com

    Gregg L. DesElms
    Napa, California USA
    gregg at greggdeselms dot com

    Veritas nihil veretur nisi abscondi.
    Veritas nimium altercando amittitur.

  3. blue.bsod said on December 29, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    I once used the site to figure out why I was itching so much. I was healthy, and clean, it wasn’t an STD but it wasn’t topical. WebMD said it was my liver failing… I don’t even drink, my doctor laughed his head off and said it could be one of two things. Minor surface irritation, or allergies. I discounted allergies because I never had allergies in that area, but as I am finding out you can suddenly develop allergies overtime. Or they may come and go. My problem was allergy related, and not a failing liver according to WebMD.

    1. Gregg DesElms said on December 30, 2013 at 2:40 am

      I’m sorry, blue.bsod, but you simply could not be more wrong, generally. Yes, you’re right that people should not be self-diagnosing; and, yes, using WebMD for that is both stupid, and not what how WebMD intended that its site should be used. WebMD cannot help it if, despite its telling its visitors not to use it that way, some nevertheless do. However…

      …your bigger problem, blue.bsod, is that you need a new physician, whether or not you realize it. Yours apparently thinks it’s better if his patients are stupid, and that only he possesses the arcane information. That’s the mid-20th-century-and-earlier thinking of an insecure physician — actually, more accurately, person who’s a physician — who needs to be reported to his/your state’s medical licensing board.

      Modern physicians who are up with the times realize that an informed and educated patient, who is armed from such as WebMD with the information that s/he needs in order to have a more productive discussion with his/her physician about his/her health, tends to be an overall healthier patient. That’s what the studies now show; and no amount of either his or your denying it, or complaining about what it portends for medicine, will change that.

      That he doesn’t know that, and likely couldn’t appreciate it even once having had it explained to him, speaks volumes about him and how both controlling and behind-the-times he is. Shame on him…

      …and on you for, first, sticking with him; and, second, being his misguided apologist.

      Gregg L. DesElms
      Napa, California USA
      gregg at greggdeselms dot com

      Veritas nihil veretur nisi abscondi.
      Veritas nimium altercando amittitur.

      NOTE: If this is essentially a duplicate, it’s because the first one I posted did not appear after I clicked on the “submit comment” button; while the next post I made, after that (below, regarding the headline) appeared as normal; so I just assumed that the system ate the first one, and so I have now posted this second one. If they both end-up appearing, blame this system, not me. And if they both appear, then please, moderator, delete the first one, leaving this one (but, of course, then feel free to remove this “NOTE:”).

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on December 29, 2013 at 9:42 pm

      Well, I do agree that you should not blindly trust what articles on the site tell you, especially if it appears to be something serious.

      I do still think that it contains valuable information that you can make use of, especially in situations where no one else is in reach to help you out.

  4. blue.bsod said on December 29, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    Self diagnosis is the worse thing you can do to yourself. Like many hospital ER’s being over flooded with hysterical parents. Their website is very general and only lists the typical, or sometimes even highly unlikely results. My own MD hates that site and has even made it a point to prove to me and his other patients how wrong WebMD is. So the last thing we need is hysterical parents over reacting to something they read online.

    So I can’t imagine the phone app being any better than their website version. I’m guessing it’s a stripped down version of the website using the same database. Just remember the single thing it lists is only one possibility and the underlying problem may be something not even residing in the area where you feel the pain.

    1. Gregg DesElms said on December 30, 2013 at 2:25 am

      TO: blue.bsod

      Yes, one should not self-diagnose, but nothing on WebMD suggests that anyone should. All WebMD does, just as all the Mayo Clinic website does, is provide patients with information so that they may be empowered to better discuss their symptoms and other health matters with their physicians. It’s not WebMD’s fault, after it warns people not to use it for self-diagnosis, that some people nevertheless do.

      Your problem, whether or not you realize it, is that you need a new physician… one who realizes that an empowered and educated and engaged patient tends to be a better and healthier patent. What your backward-thinking, old-timey, insecure physician seems to think are the keys to the kingdom is the arcane knowledge. Shame on him; and shame on you for remaining his patient. He needs to be reported to your/his state’s medical licensing board; and were I his patent, I’d do it in a heartbeat. It’s the 21st century. He needs to join it.

      Gregg L. DesElms
      Napa, California USA
      gregg at greggdeselms dot com

      Veritas nihil veretur nisi abscondi.
      Veritas nimium altercando amittitur.

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