iCME is a simple mobile database for physicians to track CME (continuing medical education) events. Appreciating its purpose is clouded at first since it doesn’t seem obvious that keeping a list of one’s conferences is weighty enough of a task to devote an entire application. But, it turns out, that is indeed the one and only function of the application. Specifically, the user is asked to manually enter the date, title and hours of every CME event attended and, in return, the user is rewarded with a display of all their events in table format. As every physician needs to document continuing medical education at each biennial state license renewal, the need for recording such events certainly exists. However, the question is whether a dedicated smartphone application beats a simple piece of paper.
What I liked about this app:
- It addresses a real need
- Simple to understand
What I did not like:
- The application does not add up CME hours per time period, an important oversight
- There is no way to specify recurring CME events
- If the idea is that a smartphone allows for quick, on-site data entry, then the default behavior should be to request the smallest possible amount of information, however the application default is 10 data fields per event (customizable to a maximum of 18 fields!)
- Similarly, requiring the user to scroll through 17 different types of CME events seems inconsiderate
What I Would Like to See in Future Versions:
- This type of app might more naturally exist as a mobile interface to a web application, that way the data can be viewed and backed up online
- Perhaps better would be integration with an existing web information service, such as Evernote, so as to spare us accrual of yet another on-line service
- Yet even better might be re-imagining it more as a calendar add-on and have it accept email event invites (standard VCAL format from Outlook or iCal), to which it simply adds the CME hours on top of the existing calendar event data – why enter the same information twice?
The developers state on their iTunes page “Every health professional will find this program invaluable!”. Well, that might be a slight overstatement. While logging CME events is certainly a necessity, it is not a burning need for most physicians. The occurrences are infrequent and will probably leave some trail of evidence (emails, handouts, etc) so that they can be recalled at a later date. It is not clear that physicians will compulsively remember to use a dedicated free-standing application to log their CME events. In reality, a simple paper list or text document will suffice for most people . As always, any new service will have to provide a high enough value proposition for folks to change behavior. Nevertheless, iCME does provide a simple and useful venue to address an existing need. Perhaps if the developers imagined a way to integrate this application into existing products and services, it could become even more useful.
Dr. Wodajo is one of our senior writers on the iMedical Apps team. He brings an extensive clinical background to the reviews and commentary he provides. He is a bone and soft tissue tumor specialist with interests in health policy, technology, and tumor research. His blog can be found at http://www.orthoonc.com.