ICU logbooks, a brief overview

This was published in FICM Trainee Eye Sep 2018 – Issue 10


Logbooks are ubiquitous in medical training, serving purposes of standardising and structuring training, facilitating communication between trainee and trainer, identifying strength, weaknesses and assessing progression. Established medical colleges provide or recommend logbooks for their trainees. The Royal College of Surgeons endorse their intercollegiate eLogbook, while the Royal College of Anaesthetists’ logbook has recently been superseded by their integrated Lifelong Learning Platform, demonstrating the ongoing value and investment into logbooks.

Types of personal logbooks

Logbooks can be either paper-based or electronic. However, this article will only look at electronic logbooks. Electronic logbooks can be either standalone apps/software, or spreadsheet-based.

Standalone apps are popular choices for doctors, and most specialties use these. They consist of a scaffold based on database software and a front-end user-display. These are often aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly. However, they are rigid in their data-collection fields and are often not modifiable. Moreover, problems may arise from software updates (e.g. iGasLog users lost their data when they stopped updating their software).

Spreadsheet-based logbooks are simple databases, usually built with Microsoft Excel or Mac Numbers type software. They may have formulae for auto- calculation and summaries. They are easy to use, often modifiable for one’s own interests, and with Cloud technology, enable remote access and data entry. However, they might not be as aesthetically- pleasing as standalone apps.

The FICM recommends trainees keep a logbook, but do not specify nor endorse a specific logbook. New ICM trainees may be bewildered by the choice of logbooks available. Therefore, here is a short (but by no means exhaustive) list of some of the logbooks on the market.

Spreadsheet-based logbooks

The Northwest ICU Logbook (

A personal, fully editable spreadsheet with summaries and graphs. Available in Microsoft Excel and Mac Numbers, with PDF instructions. This was designed by the author, Mark ZY Tan, an ICM trainee in the Northwest.


  • Free, available for both Microsoft and Apple operating systems
  • Easy to use, ARCP-compliant
  • Able to be stored on a Cloud system (e.g. iCloud, Google drive, Dropbox)
  • Mobile form input (Mac Numbers version) with offline capability
  • Fully editable for individual interests, therefore can be used as a template
  • Automatically generated summaries and colour graphs of data


  • Still in its infancy
  • May require basic spreadsheet manipulation knowledge for modifications or troubleshooting
  • Excel version does not have mobile form input

Sunderland ICCU Medical Education ICU Logbook (

A Microsoft Excel spreadsheet with summaries. This spreadsheet has been around for some time and many trainees use it. It was designed by Peter Hersey, a consultant intensivist in Sunderland.


  • Free
  • Easy to use, ARCP-compliant
  • Able to be stored on a Cloud system (e.g. iCloud, Google drive, Dropbox)
  • Automatically generated summaries of data
  • Offline capability


  • No form function, therefore data-entry has to be via the entire spreadsheet
  • Not as aesthetically pleasing as some standalone apps
  • Password-protected therefore not modifiable

Spreadsheet-based logbooks

MedELogbook (

An online logbook for doctors in ICU. Designed by Nish Arulkumaran, a research fellow in London.


  • Free
  • Easy to use, ARCP-compliant
  • Simple and intuitive data input
  • Generates Excel files for backup


  • Requires internet connection • No mobile input
  • Not modifiable

LogICU (

An android-based logbook for ICM doctors.


  • Offline data input
  • Generates Excel files for backup • Mobile input (Android)


  • Cost (£11.99 on Google Play at time of writing) • Not modifiable
  • Last updated in 2014
Royal College of Anaesthetists’ Lifelong Learning Platform

Integrated portfolio and logbook for anaesthesia, pain medicine and ICU


  • Linked to RCoA portfolio and curriculum • Beautiful user display and interface


  • Only available to RCoA members
  • ICU logbook is very basic and lacks detail
  • Offline capabilities not set up yet (there are future plans for this)
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