Repetition, repetition, repetition. Most of the information I retained from the first few years of medical school is what I learned by repetition. Unless I use some bit of knowledge regularly, I tend to forget it. Reading an EKG is one of those skills in medicine that requires a lot of background knowledge, the ability to recognize patterns, and the clinical experience to know what looks “okay” and what looks “definitely not okay.” While no app or textbook can replace the practical skills that one acquires through months or years of interpreting real EKGs and seeing patients, it helps to have a quick reference of ground rules and basic pattern descriptions to refresh one’s mind on the basic reading rules of EKGs.
Medical students and residents have been carrying around pocket-sized EKG manuals for decades. But over the past several months a few ECG/EKG apps have cropped up on the Android Market, hoping to fill the need for an electronic alternative.
Here I take a look at three EKG interpretation and learning tools for Android mobile devices: EKGdroid, EKG:Advanced, and EKG Calipers. Can Android really replace those pocket manuals and teach the next generation of doctors to read EKGs?
As most of you know, the iPhone 4 was just announced by Steve Jobs today. The iPhone 4G brings significant upgrades from the 3GS – video conferencing, multi-tasking, HD video recording, and more. The overall look of the phone is different as well, it’s being proclaimed as the “thinnest smart phone ever” by Steve Jobs.
In the mountain of new features announced today, there are two that should stand out for the medical community. Retinal Display and PDF viewing. As more details emerge, this post will get updated accordingly.
Apple now has the sharpest and highest resolution smart phone – they are calling it “Retinal Display”. While the screen size is still 3.5 inches (diagonal), the pixel resolution is now 960 by 640, 326 pixels per inch. For comparison sake, the 3GS had a resolution of 480 by 320, 163 pixels per inch. Obviously, the iPhone 4′s display is a tremendous leap forward.
How this effects the medical community:
We reported a few months ago, before the release of the iPad, on rumors that the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles had been given the “next Apple Tablet” to experiment with in the hospital. At the time even the Washington Post was speculating on these rumors.
An article in USA Today detailing the multipurpose uses of the iPad is shedding some new light on the Cedars-Sinai and Apple relationship. The hospital is currently experimenting with the iPad’s ability to enhance the physician patient relationship – and twelve iPads are currently being used in the wards to make rounds with physicians.
With all the talk of the adoption towards electronic medical records (EMR) and questions about software choices – people tend to forget the hardware needed to run such records. Dell is trying their best to create as many partnerships as possible with EMR vendors and physicians hoping to adopt EMRs. Apple has also tried to foster these relationships, but compared to Dell its efforts have been significantly weaker.
Just recently Dell teamed up with Practice Fusion, an EMR vendor for small practices famous for marketing themselves as the fastest growing free electronic health record company – and are offering deep discounts through this partnership.
The partnership with Practice Fusion is by no means the first relationship with an EMR vendor for Dell. They have over 20 partnerships with electronic health vendors, ranging from Allscripts to Athena Health. Dell even has a dedicated number and email address for those who are interested in buying hardware for electronic health records: 1-866-Dell-EMR and [email protected]
So exactly how deep are these discounts? (read more)
By: Jessica Otte, MD
STATworkUP, now in its fourth version, is an App designed to help clinicians with the diagnostic thought process and to provide them with evidence-based facts about symptoms and disorders. If you are not a health care professional who does diagnostics, this probably won’t be your thing (and it will be over your head). Self-proclaimed ‘Medical Decision Support computing,’ this software approaches clinical decision-making in a way that mirrors actual practice.
The layout is straightforward but I would not say that the workings of the program are equally as obvious. The bottom menu bar provides the ability to search Symptoms, Studies, Diagnoses, and Treatments.
To start, one can use the menu bar to navigate to Symptoms, select a few symptoms from the list, press ‘Findings’ to review the choices, and the proceed to ‘Differential’ to get the goods. The Symptoms section is the only one in which multiple entries can be selected.
Radiation Passport aims to fulfill an important need: to quantify the cancer risk for the various diagnostic imaging studies and to add up the cumulative exposure and cancer risk for one patient. The app makers explicitly invite lay persons to track their own cumulative dose (thus the monicker “passport”) but the design and vocabulary appear to be targeted more toward physicians.
While the diagnostic benefits of modern imaging techniques are easily appreciated, the risk of exposure to ionizing radiation is less well understood. This question has become more acute as recently published studies attempting to quantify cancer risk from diagnostic radiation were widely picked up by media outlets. I can attest that, in recent months, many of my patients have brought up this coverage when I ordered scans. At the same time, I have also decreased orders for CT scans and even x-rays in my pediatric patients.
Lately, I’ve often been asked the question, “What type of smartphone should I get?” by my medical peers. I’ve been asked this by physicians, residents, medical students, and others. Many of my friends are entering residency and plan on upgrading to a smart phone, while others already entrenched in residency have phone contracts finishing up.
The answer to this question is not easy. Rather, as Facebook nomenclature would demand, “it’s complicated”. From the title you can see I’ve excluded the Palm platform and Windows mobile phones. Palm is currently restructuring since being bought by HP, and Microsoft is in the process of rebooting their mobile division – so both currently do not possess vibrant ecosystems for app development – and won’t be included in this discussion.
How you use your mobile phone is key in choosing the right smart phone, and obviously, not all medical professionals use their phone in the same way. I’ll break down a few different scenarios, and hopefully this analysis will help you make a more informed decision about the right mobile platform for you. (read more)
Here we review Clinical Pharmacology Mobile (CPM) from Gold Standard/Elsevier, a program that promises to deliver quality drug and interaction information in the palm of your hand. As a web-based program, CPM supports most advanced devices that use standard browsers (iPhone/iPad/iTouch, Blackberry, etc.) and runs on the Safari/Android/ Symbian/ Windows Mobile/RIM operating systems.
Gold Standard/Elsevier represents a trusted name well-versed in the development of “medical management solutions.” Their suite of products also includes: Alchemy, Clinical Measures, Clinical Pharmacology, FormChecker, MedAlternatives, MedChecker, ProspectoRX, and ToxED. However, CPM appears to be their first foray into mobile applications. (read more)
We’re giving away 5 promo codes for one of the most popular PDF readers in the App Store via the comments section of this post. We’ve reviewed it on this site before and now the app is boasting some significant upgrades.
There were fireworks at the recent Google developer conference (“Google I/O”). Some of this was well deserved excitement around features found in the newest version of the Android mobile operating system (version 2.2, “Froyo”). Much of the fireworks, however, were due to loud, public taunting of the iPhone and Steve Jobs by senior Google executives.
Since everybody loves a contest, these statements by Google speakers were widely covered in the tech press and predictably stirred up heated comment threads throughout the blogosphere.
In truth, the schoolyard level of the rhetoric (see Kara Swisher) probably does not serve Google’s interests in the long run. This is because Google’s business relationships are symbiotic: Google needs its partners’ trust to continue delivering to Google, via their devices and services, massive amounts of user data for its primary business, which is selling advertising.
The American healthcare system is finally on the road to a modern national IT infrastructure. Recently, the iMedicalApps team had the opportunity to speak to a small but ambitious group of IT professionals who aim to be at the forefront of this modernization by targeting the physicians with the lowest penetration of electronic health records, those in smaller private practices.
The web-based EHR put forth by the team at Dr. Chronos, as well as other vendors whom we have spoken about previously, directly addresses many of the barriers to adoption in this physician demographic.
One particularly interesting development is that Dr. Chronos, a relatively new web-based electronic health record vendor targeting smaller private practices, has now decided to embrace the iPad as their mobile health solution.
We received a comprehensive demo of the native app for the iPad, including upcoming features, as well as a look at the healthcare IT landscape from the perspective of CEO/Co-Founder Michael Nusimow and COO Daniel Kivatinos. (read more)
American Medical News (amednews.com) recently reported on statements made in February by FDA officials regarding regulation of medical software. (read more)
Preface: Albert Santalo is Chairman and CEO of CareCloud, an innovative web-based practice management software and electronic health record technology startup. Care Cloud integrates a fluid and attractive user-interface with an efficient revenue-cycle engine, and has attracted positive attention as well as $2.3m in series A funding. Mr. Santalo is an inductee of the Florida International University Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame and was recently recognized by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce as Best Up and Coming Technology Innovator. He was previously chairman of Avisena, a revenue cycle management company. CareCloud was covered recently on this site along with an interview with Albert Santalo. We are excited to bring you a guest post by this industry leader.
By Albert Santalo
There seems to be a lot of discussion these days regarding the turbulent nature of mobile platforms and how the differences between them will impact the kind of software that will be available to physicians and other healthcare professionals.
I want to take some time today to step outside of the deep technical details and discuss why I feel that the concept of the “App” is such a revolutionary step towards empowering physicians with effective, accessible and omnipresent tools.
While most of the smartphones on the market today offer exceptional browsing experiences (it’s amazing how far we’ve come in the last 3 years), the majority of browser-based web apps don’t provide the deep functionality and usability that native apps excel at. That means they can’t properly translate the desktop experience into the palm of your hand.
I’m not saying there isn’t a plethora of amazing utilities and tools available through the mobile browser today, but most lack the ability to fully capitalize on a particular device’s features to deliver a truly compelling user experience. There are some really amazing capabilities that developers can tap into if they build a native app, because native apps can work directly with the hardware and software of the mobile device.