Mayo Clinic on Pregnancy app educates expectant mothers

Pregnancy can be a complicated time for patients. It can be fraught with anxiety, numerous check-ups and appointments, and new rules.

Known for its consumer health information books, integrated care, and research, the Mayo Clinic released an educational app geared towards patients.

The app itself is purely educational with limited interactivity or personalization. The only information it asks of patients is their current week based on the estimated date of confinement or last menstrual period.

The app then uses that information to present a selection of topics relevant for that week, gradually introducing more information (e.g. first-trimester screening in week 8, quad-screens in week 14) throughout pregnancy and the first 3 months of baby’s life.

The Android app (also available on iOS) looks very similar to the Windows 8 app of the same name, although some content has changed. The video below demonstrates this functionality.

User Interface

The user interface itself is clearly neither Android nor iOS-native and looks more like a Windows Phone app. That’s not necessarily bad, as the interface is extremely clean. However, on Android, hitting the menu button may or may not display the menu. It’s not immediately obvious that the user has to scroll left and right to access other topics.

Additionally, attempting to access Mayo Clinic’s promotional items — such as purchasing their guidebook or viewing their blog — brings up a non-standard webpage viewer with tiny text and no way to access standard web browser tools.

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The content itself, written by the Mayo Clinic, is fairly comprehensive; even searching for things like alcohol brings up a list of foods to avoid. However, drug-specific information is lacking. Searching for things like lithium or paroxetine, both of which are FDA pregnancy category D medications are not included in local search results. The app also does not include any credits as to who wrote the information nor any references.

Despite these shortcomings, Mayo Clinic’s new app is easily something that supplements a physician’s practice and stands out among the crowded field of pregnancy apps on Google Play. The app includes a limited selection of technical pictures for more innocuous procedures such as ultrasounds. For other more involved topics like amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling, or C-sections, the app eschews pictures of the procedures to show stock photographs of pregnant mothers.

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Price

  • Free

Likes

  • Easy to use and clean appearance, despite its non-standard user interface
  • Introduces information at a week-by-week pace
  • Tailors to patient’s current week
  • Free

Dislikes

  • Some user interface glitches
  • Can be text-heavy, at times including terms like lanugo, vernix caseosa, and linea nigra without accompanying photographs
  • Although comprehensive, not complete, lacking some info like drug-specific contraindications
  • Cannot copy or highlight text

Healthcare providers that would benefit from the app

  • Obstetricians, to provide to their patients
  • Pediatricians, to provide to their patients
  • Medical students

Patients that may benefit from app

  • Expectant mothers-to-be

Conclusion

  • Great, free trustworthy educational material geared towards patients, with some user interface glitches.

iMedicalApps Recommended?

  • Yes

iTunes Link
Google Play Link

Rating: 4/5 

Type of Device used to review app: Samsung Galaxy Note 2 SGH-T889
Version of app 1.01
Android version 4.1

Author:

Steven Chan (@StevenChanMD)

is a resident physician in psychiatry & human behavior at the University of California, Davis School of Medicine, and is current American Psychiatric Association (APA) & Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) Minority Fellow. He's currently researching asynchronous telepsychiatry & mobile healthcare applications. Steve previously worked as a visual designer and software engineer at both Microsoft & UC Berkeley.

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