STDMeister is the first legitimate STD app made for health care professionals in the App Store. It was only a matter of time right? Although the proper phrase is STI, sexually transmitted infection, it’s safe to say the phrase sexually transmitted disease (STD) isn’t going away anytime soon – especially for those of us in the medical field. This STD app aims at helping medical personnel diagnose, manage, and treat STDs. The developer of this application is MeisterMed, and we’ve reviewed some of their prior medical apps before, with mixed results. This might be a unique application at a low price point, $3.99, but how useful is it for health care professionals? Hopefully at the end of this review you’ll be able to tell.
When you open up the application you’re presented with a funky looking monster/bug cartoon that I’m assuming is supposed to represent an STD. Underneath the freaky STD cartoon, you have 5 buttons to choose from [2nd picture].
The three key navigation pathways on this page are Topic Index, Treatment Algorithms, and Image Atlas. The topic index has a wealth of information on not only STDs, but ancillary topics, such as abstinence. Once you pick on your topic of choice, in this example, Chlamydia, you’ve given a link to pictures, diagnosis, treatment algorithms, and many other related subjects. If you want to skip directly to the pictures or algorithms, you can do so on the front page.
Once you click on algorithm, you’re taken through an interactive algorithm of treatment options [reference the pictures]. You’re asked the age of the patient, if they are pregnant or not, and then given treatment recommendations. You’re also given alternative treatment regimens in certain cases, with an option to view more treatment details. The algorithm feature is where this app shines, and where it could be utilized the most in clinic.
Throughout the application, there is a toolbar at the bottom of the screen. These buttons allow you to go to the home screen, search, bookmark your current page, write a custom note, or go back to the previous page.
The search function is severely inadequate. When you search for a pathology, instead of the most relevant options showing up, such as the beautifully done algorithm I mentioned above, you’re presented with a hodgepodge of pictures and other random topics related to your search, requiring you to scroll down until you hopefully find what you’re looking for.
The bookmark function is excellent. I found it most useful for saving treatment regimes that I reference the most.
The Image Atlas contains over 200 pictures related to STDs. The pictures were informative and there are even pictures of histology slides, a nice touch. I included one picture, and left out of the more “intense” pictures in case anyone is reading this at Starbucks or any other public place [if you can give the diagnosis of the picture I included leave it in the comments section. You’ll win some respect – no prize].
What I liked:
- Current Price point of $3.99 is nice
- Good amount of information on STDs – Not too long, but concise
- Multimedia – pictures are useful
- Treatment algorithms are fantastic, and the highlight of this application
- Bookmarking feature – Very useful, you can bookmark key treatment algorithms!
What I didn’t like and What I’d like to see in future updates:
- Navigation and User Interface – There is no arguing apps produced by MeisterMed contain great information, but we’ve griped about the navigation in previous reviews. Maybe it’s because we’re used to the iPhone’s fluid interface, but simple things could make this app better – e.g, Search function that returns more relevant results, back button placed on the traditional left side, etc.
- Delayed opening of app, on account of STD cartoon showing up – minor, but when I want to look up information ASAP, those extra 2 seconds are frustrating
- Search Feature – mentioned issues in the navigation and user interface section above
- Would be nice to see references from literature or medical texts
Overall, STDMeister is a great medical app for the iPhone and iPod Touch. There are definitely issues that need to be worked out, such as the navigation, search function, and other user interface problems, but the other features of this app definitely makes up for those shortcomings. The interactive treatment algorithm alone is worth the low $3.99 asking price for the app. This fantastic feature allows you to quickly pull up the treatment options, and offers alternative treatments with detailed explanations as well.
This app would be most useful for those working in STD clinics and primary care settings where there is a high rate of sexually transmitted diseases. Physicians, Physician assistants, and nurses could definitely make use of this application in those settings.
*Note to readers: this is obvious, and even somewhat mentioned when the app opens, but when using apps offering treatment options or any medical suggestions, make sure to use your own clinical judgment. Apps such as Epocrates and Medscape have robust databases that get updated when standard of care changes occur – always be up to date on these changes through your own research.