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The Most Innovative Free Medical Apps of 2013

Discussion in 'Medical Students Cafe' started by Egyptian Doctor, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. Egyptian Doctor

    Egyptian Doctor Moderator Verified Doctor

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    1- Wrist Repair

    What is it?

    This year saw a huge advancement in patient education apps. Meditech developed Wrist Repair to help educate patients on the steps required when undergoing Open Reduction and Internal Fixation (ORIF) of a distal radius fracture — a common orthopedic surgery.

    What was Innovative?

    The app utilized a slew of 3D visualizations to hep users understand the procedure being performed during the surgery. Additionally, the app gave unique views of just 3D reconstructions of the wrists, view of the bones only, or via an x-ray view.

    The app allowed the user to zoom in and out and allowed clinicians to highlight or annotate in the app areas of demonstration — this is the most innovative part of the app — it allows dynamic interaction for clinicians while they are educating patients.

    Why is it important?

    Wrist Repair provides a blueprint to developers and health care providers on how mobile multimedia can be used with patients.

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wrist-repair/id551439954?mt=8

    2- DoctorMole and Hallux Angles

    What are they?

    DoctorMole is an app dedicated to assessing skin moles using the Asymmetry, Border, Color, Diameter and Risk (ABCDE) approach. Other apps offer similar functionality as well, such as Hallux Angles, which uses medical images to construct angle measurements.

    What was Innovative?

    DoctorMole and Hallux Angles utilize the camera on your phone to take pictures of pathology and integrate them with Augmented Reality (AR). Using an algorithm integrating the ABCDE criteria, the DoctorMole app was able to use the camera and AR to determine the malignancy of a mole. Hallux Angles could use AR to take measurements and decide the Distal Metatarsal Articular Angle (DMMA), the Interphalangeal Angle (IPA) and the Halux Valgus Angle (HVA) — useful for orthopedic Physicians.

    Why is it important?

    One thing that must be clearly stated — DoctorMole shouldn’t be used in clinical practice or by patients — there isn’t enough data to determine the app’s accuracy. However, there is no denying these apps highlight the potential of Augmented Reality in medical apps and give a glimpse into the future.

    https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/hallux-angles/id398338105?mt=8

    3- vCath

    What is it?

    vCath is an app developed by Bangor University in the UK. It is designed to teach neurosurgical trainees the art of cannulating the lateral ventricles of the brain. The objective of the app is to guide a neurosurgical trainee through the steps of positioning and inserting a catheter into the brain of a 3D virtual patient.

    What was Innovative?

    The app uses gestures and movements to teach neurosurgical trainees the art of catheterisation of the ventricular system. The key innovative feature is procedures that can be carried out on virtual 3D patients with no risk of harm. Trainees could use apps such as vCath for all kinds of procedures and they could potentially be marketed as individual learning modules.

    Why is it important?

    vCath demonstrates the possibility of apps as training tools for clinicians with no risk to patients. Training via these apps may help build up the skills needed to actually perform procedures in the future. Creation of apps expanding to other modules would be key and should be pursued by medical institutions as a model of care.

    Other 3D Virtual Simulation Apps worth checking out: iLarynx (practice intubating with fiberoptic laryngoscopy with your iPad), Upper Respiratory Virtual Lab

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/vcath/id568887198?mt=8

    4- CataractMobile

    What is it?

    Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgeries worldwide. Because of how delicate the structures of the eye are, few people outside of ophthalmology will ever get the chance to do one or even assist in one. CataractSurgery (iPad) and CataractMobile (iPhone) are apps that aim to bring the amazing experience of cataract surgery to all of us who are not in ophthalmology.

    What was Innovative?

    CataractSurgery and CataractMobile used the iPad gestures and controls for simulating 2 techniques of cataract surgery. The graphics are relatively simple, especially in comparison to other iOS games, but nonetheless, drive home the point in demonstration through involvement.

    Why is it important?

    Again, like vCath, this is an app dedicated to teaching users procedures. In this case, it demonstrates that even a simple and non-graphically intense app can be fun, if done well.

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cataractsurgery/id482530875?mt=8

    5- Neuro Localizer

    What is it?

    A medical app created by the University of Michigan Neurology department to help teach neuroanatomy and how to identify neuro lesions based on exam findings. Those of us not far removed from learning Neuroanatomy know it’s one of the more difficult topics to master — and it’s clinical importance should not be scoffed at. This is one of the few topics learned in year one of medical school that has direct application to clinical practice, especially when patients present with acute weakness.

    What was Innovative?

    This app takes an extremely complex topic and breaks it down into a simple and palatable form by utilizing the multimedia capabilities of the iPad.

    Why is it important?

    This app shows how a reputable academic center can produce a quality medical app in order to teach a complex topic. We hope this app sets the standard for more academic departments and institutions deciding to utilize mobile form factors to teach.

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/neuro-localizer/id569914999?mt=8

    6- iBooks

    What is it?

    We wrote in length about how iBooks have the potential to change medical education by providing interactive medical texts for those in the medical field. We introduced our readers to the first interactive medical iBook — “The Podmedics do Surgery“. Another popular iBook was “Brachial Plexus for Students“. Both of these free iBooks show the potential the iBook platform holds for the medical field.

    What was Innovative?

    These iBooks displayed how you could do “dynamical medical learning”. The books contained interactive graphs and interactive quizzes.

    Why is it important?

    Much of medicine is not black and white. We are lucky to be in a field where we don’t read boring court cases (Lawyers) or mundane case reports (Business). Rather, the content we learn is an intersection of Physics, Biology, and Chemistry. Having the ability to learn this content in an interactive fashion dramatically improves the experience.

    New free iBook demonstrates power of iPad as a medical education learning platform

    7- Grapherence

    What is it?

    Identifying the interrelationship between articles in medical literature has always been a difficult endeavor. Grapherence is Unbound Medicine’s approach to graphically represent the relationship between journal articles.

    What was Innovative?

    Initially when using the app, the user is able to visually see how different articles are interrelated to each other via their research content and cluster thoughts. This can be useful then to trace patterns of research done and how they have spurred on other research or landmark studies.

    Why is it important?

    Visual representation of data — especially in research and writing — can be greatly beneficial when looking through medical literature. It allows the user to see how one item may relate to another. This could be expounded further perhaps in visually demonstrating how research has affected guideline creation or standards of care for individuals that want to know why we practice certain ways and how it may change.

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/unbound-medline-pubmed-journals/id554157746?mt=8

    8- First Aid by the American Red Cross

    What is it?

    The American Red Cross has released a series of apps aimed at helping the population with emergency situations. This was largely seen with Hurricane Sandy hitting the East Coast of the United States and their Hurricane App being downloaded to help the community. In addition, the Red Cross has also created a basic first aid app.

    What was innovative?

    One of the key features of the app was the ability to help users understand basic skills for first aid through video and step-by-step instructions. One of the greatest features that could be expanded further was the integration of gamification in education and reinforcement of the material. Being able to earn badges and then uploading them to the Apple Game Center was a great way for users to test themselves.

    Why is this important?

    Using gaming mechanics in apps to educate both patients and healthcare providers can be beneficial in making learning both fun and informative. However, this must be done right — information can’t be dulled down, or the game becomes the main focus. The American Red Cross set the standard for teaching patients via gamification with this app.

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/first-aid-by-american-red/id529160691?mt=8

    9- Docphin and Read by QxMD

    What is it?

    This year we saw a new type of app being released onto the market that sought to make access to medical literature simpler. Using your institutions proxy library access, these apps allow users to login once and have access to all journals available to that institution.

    What was Innovative?

    Looking for a journal article can be a tedious thing, especially if done away from the work-place, where users must login to the library and then search for the article. These apps allow quick access, and streamline user’s experience to get papers they need. This cuts down on the time to access the literature, and makes it easier to share among colleagues.

    Why is it important?

    Ease of access of medical literature is something that really matters in an age of practice driven by evidence-based medicine. Having access to the latest data that may drive practice on a daily basis is very important for practitioners that pride themselves on being up-to-date. In addition, reading articles via a mobile device is becoming common, and having an app that mimics other common apps like Zite and Flipboard makes reading easier to do and to share.

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/docphin/id542551481?mt=8

    10- Glucagon by Eli Lilly

    What is it?

    Rapid administration of Glucagon for a patient is vital during an acute episode. Unfortunately, users may not be ready for administration due to lapse in education on its proper use. As such, Eli Lilly created the Glucagon App to help users understand how to properly administer the drug when needed.

    What was Innovative?

    The app integrated a very fluid mechanic to help guide users through the steps required to use Glucagon. In one sense, there was a limited gamification of the app in which users were not merely given text or video of administering Glucagon, but also each step had the user involved (e.g. shaking the device to simulate shaking the vial after mixing).

    Additionally, the app could also be scheduled to remind users when to practice again to keep refreshed on medication administration.

    Why is it important?

    Research is demonstrating that users may forget how to use rescue medications when most needed due to lapse of education. Using apps that have integrated user education, whether through gamification or mini-tests, can help users maintain knowledge required for medication use. This could be further expanded to initial education on medications or devices that do require some steps in their use (e.g. inhalers, insulin pens).

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/glucagon/id553314007?mt=8

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    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013

  2. MD Jack 007

    MD Jack 007 Young Member

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