Vidal and IPhone: Vive la BCB!!!!

This is the medical l'arlésienne of the IPhone, the Vidal. Indeed, while we can not really consider that the iPhone has just come out or that the first version of the SDK has just been made available, the AppStore is still silent as regards the availability of the Bible of medicines French.

It is interesting to browse the forum opened by vital editions concerning the famous availability of a native application for the IPhone: "Always in preparation", "We think about it", "it will not be long"…

While Apple presented its iPad whose use for nomadic doctors (and other???) seems to me an obvious, still no news on the part of the editions of Vidal. Worse, when some on the forum take themselves to evoke the availability of another French drug database, they are simply censored (here).

So why so much waiting?

First of all, Vidal has been available for many years for PDA's. I had it on my Palm and then on my HTC. In fact, the Vidal editions had not looked very far to carry their dictionary on these platforms. They had simply carried the electronic version on Mobipocket which provided a reading application on most mobile platforms. Vidal was available everywhere. Simple and probably cheaper even if the searches were chaotic and not at all ergonomic (probably the platform rather than the software, but good…).

The problem is that the French Mobipocket, which was beginning to become important in the field of ebooks, was bought by………… Amazon. I'm not going in this ticket to take back the entire history of the "war" that Apple and Amazon are delivering since the release of the IPhone and even more since the announcement of the IPad but sends you back to this Macgénération.com ticket. In short, Amazon seems (logically!!) blocking the port of the Mobipocket player on the IPhone.

Only here. Since the time that this situation existed, it would have been good for the editions of Vidal to react. They did so half by making available their database for free for iPhone owners at this address: http://mobile.vidal.fr. Slowness, limitation in research and especially need to have a network connection exclude from the outset many health professionals. When it comes to a native application, I refer you to the convoluted explanations of forum administrators who are trying to justify why such a powerful company can't do what a simple independent developer does in a few days. Spend!

The BCB, yes thank you!

In short, tired of waiting, I decided to take a subscription for the BCB. The BCB or Banque Claude Bernard is a fairly old database working with the AFSSAPS and being the first to obtain the approval of the High health authority. I refer you to the site http://www.resip.fr for further details. It has an application on the AppStore that allows to test it for a month with a limitation on the number of products available. I had already been able to test this base on a hospital that put it at the disposal of its practitioners. Reactive, efficient and monthly updates, very simple and very complete. The application for IPhone is also easy. After sending the form available here http://www.resip.fr/bcb_pour_iphone.asp by mail, you will receive your unlock code by email. The base is functional immediately by cons do not forget to do the update.


The home page is simple and offers you direct search or enter a patient profile.


The seizure of the patient profile is interesting, but could be more efficient. Indeed, let's say we take a pregnant patient for four months and then we look for an antibiotic of the type doxycycline, the research works, finds the Doxy and proposes to add it to the prescription. It will only be during the verification of the order that an alert will be posted regarding the risk of pregnancy-related doxy. I would have preferred a de facto limitation of research results to only authorized drugs. Similarly, the declaration of an infant or child will propose all galenic forms of a drug without limiting itself to age-appropriate forms. It's a bit of a pity, maybe in a future version.


The search function is classic by drug name, by component (DCI), by indication and by laboratory. I will describe here only the search by name, the other functions being identical. So we find ourselves with a classic field of search on IPhone with a live modification of the list of proposals as the typing. The research is very fast or even immediate. The results are presented in the form of a galenic presentation and in alphabetical order with an icon specifying whether it is a generic or referral drug and other alerts such as vehicle driving…..

By Papouillant on the name of the desired drug, a simplified monograph is obtained which takes up the essential elements of the product. If one wishes, one can obtain the complete monograph of the AFSSAPS, but a connection is then required. Note that the consultation of the data of the monograph is done in the application itself and not in Safari which allows to return quickly to its searches. At the top is the button for adding the medication to the prescription.

The prescription itself presents the drugs added without any warning. It is necessary to palpate the button "Control the ordinance" to obtain a result. In the following example, the Macrolide-ergot Association of Rye was detected as dangerous.

Farewell Vidal

In the end, I am TREEEEEES pleased to have taken the BCB. The load is fast (on a 3GS), the available offline data is sufficient for a common use and the possibility of accessing the data of the AFSSAPS is additional security. Updates are frequent (a priori every month see more often, but check). The function of the patient file is interesting, but in my opinion would need to be more advanced. The Vidal, disappointing for years on the majority of its electronic editions, takes a big slap and should seriously worry about the iPhonisation of the medical environment. Moreover, they have recently withdrawn their VidalPDA application to develop a new solution. It would be time…….

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