We have an updated review of this application highlighting it’s new features. The review can be found here.

Medical Spanish is an app that helps you communicate with Spanish speaking patients in a health care setting. The app has a very detailed description in the App store, so I won’t get into the “nitty gritty”, but instead I’ll focus on the usefulness of the app. I’ll touch on this later, but you can use this app even if you do not know a single word of Spanish. (Scroll below after the conclusion section for a more detailed review of the App).

What I like about this App:
  • Search function allows you to easily find thousands of key medical phrases / words instantaneously. By far the best feature of the App.
  • The pharmacy section is great for giving instructions on how to take medications (dosage, timing, etc)
  • You can use this app even if you cannot speak a single Spanish word.
  • Made by health care providers, so questions are on par.
  • Thousands of phrases can help you with a full H&P and chief complaint.
  • Can help you save time while you are waiting on the translator.
Improvements that could be made:
  • A favorites section. It would be nice to have a favorites section where you could put the most frequently used Spanish phrases.
  • An option to where the application opens up to the search menu. I find myself using the search option 90% of the time.
  • Hispanic patients tend to use more nontraditional medications, it would be helpful to have a section dedicated to some of the nontraditional med/treatments used by them.
  • The developers have announced they will be adding audio to this app as well, which would be amazing.
Who this app would be great for:
  • Doctors (Residents), PAs, nurses, and medical students who have a high Hispanic patient population.
  • If your hospital / clinic is lacking a sufficient amount of translators, which is pretty much everyone.

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Conclusion:

For anyone in the health care profession who has been waiting on a translator in order to ask just a few simple questions, this app could save you some frustration. I think this is a great app if used correctly and I would recommend it to the above people. This application doesn’t replace a translator but definitely would help you save time.

I think everyone out there at some point has been waiting outside a patient door but a translator isn’t available. This app could help you ask some key questions until the translator arrives. This app would also be useful for people who don’t need translators but might not have the best medical Spanish. I have peers who know Spanish well, but sometimes still have difficulty using their Spanish in a medical setting, this app would be great for them.

I think its important how you actually use the app as well. Trying to do a full H&P without knowing any Spanish beforehand would be difficult, but getting the chief complaint would definitely be doable.

I could see this app being used in pre-rounds. You could even write down the key questions you want to ask the patient before you enter their room. The search function is very very crucial, and I mention this throughout the review. It allows you to use this app in front of the patient because it is extremely quick and efficient.

At $6.99, it is not the cheapest app, but like I mentioned above, if you use it correctly it can save you time and frustration. Also, the developers have mentioned they will add audio to the app soon, which should make it even more enticing.

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Further Review:

This is a very extensive medical app, with thousands of words and phrases. The homepage (1st picture), starts with the Review of Systems and if you scroll down it has a “Basic Spanish” section. On the homepage there are 5 hot buttons at the bottom of the screen. These are Pain, Numbers, Physical Exam, Prescription, and the Search function. I found the Pain, Prescription, and especially the Search function to be the most important in this app.

The Pain section is done very well. We’re often told in medicine to use PQRST to assess for Pain, Provoking, Quality, Radiation, Severity, and Timing. It would be difficult to ask these questions of a patient if you don’t speak good Spanish, because you would not be able to understand their responses. To prevent this from happening the Pain section mostly asks close ended questions. Here’s an example of what I mean: “When is the Pain better? Worse?”, followed by “In the Morning? In the evening? After Resting? After exertion? After any activity?” This theme is followed often in the App, which I think is a great idea. It allows someone who does not understand Spanish to still get key information.

I know what some of you might be thinking, we’re also taught in medicine not to ask close ended questions. But those types of questions will help you get a head start in case the translators are all busy (which often times they are).

The numbers section is self explanatory, translating English numbers to Spanish. The Physical Exam section includes questions on medical history, along with full physical exam directions. It mostly translates commands, which can be particularly useful when you are doing the Cranial Nerve part of your exam.

The pharmacy section includes Instructions, Medications, Quantities, Side Effects, and Suggestions. The most useful section of pharmacy by far is the Instructions section. Its great because you can tell a patient exactly how you want them to take a particular drug, and even write it down for them using this section.

The search section is where this application shines, by far. Refer to my second picture for an example of using the search function. I typed in hurt and those were some of the results that came up. I even typed in sorry, and a whole host of empathetic phrases popped up. Like I said before, this application has thousands of words / phrases, and the search function makes it fun to use this application, and drastically more efficient.