Check out the comments section for a special offer for this app! And for the iPhone’ers among us, there is a link to 15 promo codes

From primary care to orthopedics, diagnosing injury and pathology of the musculoskeletal system relies upon the ability to accurately perform and interpret the orthopedic exam.   Learners of the orthopedic exam often become frustrated by the vast and eponym-laden terminology involved; and mastering the jargon and techniques requires a great deal of practice and memorization.

The team at Clinically Relevant developed an iPhone app to aid in the process of learning, re-learning, and perfecting the orthopedic exam.  Android users will be grateful to hear that CORE (Clinical Orthopedic Exam) is available for the Android OS, and at a discounted price ($29.99) compared to the iPhone version.

Without repeating much of what we said about the iPhone app, we’ve put together a brief review of CORE for Android.

In the past we have focused on Free Medical Apps for Android.  This review marks a change in that focus – hopefully a change that reflects an Android Market that is moving toward higher-performing medical apps.


CORE runs quickly on Android.  From the desktop, the user can open CORE, find the a test, and be reading about its purpose and instructions in 5-10 seconds, regardless of Wi-Fi/3G/Edge connection.  Even with several other applications running in the background, one can move quickly from screen to screen within the CORE application. In the health care setting speed is essential, and this app has got it figured out.

Visuals & Navigation

The layout and design of this app is strikingly similar to many iPhone apps.  Finding tests is done alphabetically, by body region, or by diagnostic category.  Favorites can be saved and accessed from the main menu.  Additionally, the entire app can be searched easily from the main menu.
Main MenuAlphabetical
On each test page the user will find the Purpose and Instructions for completing the test.  Additional information is available to assess the Test Properties (sensitivity, specificity, likelihood ratios, etc) for a given test.  For less biostatistically-inclined clinicians and students, a Stats Legend is available with useful definitions of test characteristics.
Example Test Property Statistics Legend
Video demos

The user can access non-audio video demos that are streamed from the Internet (not stored directly on the phone). Streaming videos, instead of storing videos within the app, has its pros and cons.  Certainly, SD card space is saved by not having to download videos for over 250 orthopedic tests.  Unfortunately, this also means that the videos can only be viewed when an connection to Wi-Fi/3G/Edge is available.  Depending on your setting, this can be an issue – though many outpatient clinics today should have wireless, or at least a 3G signal.  Due to the smaller storage size of most Android devices, the decision to stream instead of embed videos within the app is a necessary inconvenience.

Videos are high quality, brief, and helpful for instruction.  The lack of audio is a bit frustrating at times, but written instructions within the app complement the content of the videos.
Example Video with controls
On Android, the user has the choice of opening the video demos directly from the YouTube app, or through any Android browser.
YouTube or Browser Browser
Interestingly, at the end of a video, several other videos (usually related to the same topic) are available for quick viewing.  Frequent users of YouTube will be familiar with this feature.  These “related videos” – while not explicitly made available by the makers of CORE – are typically relevant and helpful, providing additional video-based resources for learning a given portion of the orthopedic exam.
Related Videos
This app is great for…

  • first-time and repeat learners of the orthopedic exam (clerkships in family medicine, sports medicine, orthopedics, etc.)
  • Residents and physicians who use the orthopedic exam often, but want quick-access to information about the diagnostic performance of each test
  • and as our iPhone reviewer put it, this would be a great app for primary care physicians who see many patients with musculoskeletal problems, but do not use orthopedic techniques or terminology frequently enough to memorize every appropriate diagnostic test
    This app is not as great for… 

  • Android users with OS v1.5 or older (not compatible)
  • and those who have no access to Wi-Fi/3G/Edge in the clinical setting

    The musculoskeletal exam is an integral component of a physician’s repertoire, and requires a great deal of practice and memorization.  CORE provides a good experience for learners, and enough evidence-based information to make the app useful for frequent-users of the orthopedic exam.  The breadth and depth of information in CORE is impressive.

    On a larger scale, we think that this app has the potential to really open up the Android Market to higher-performing apps by showing other developers what is possible.  Android developers have been slow to roll out medical apps in this price range, and barriers unique to Android remain, but we see this app as a sign of a brighter future for Android Medical Apps.

    See: CORE Demo (YouTube) for more information
    Price: $29.99 on the Android Market.