Here we review the Hematology Miniatlas App, one of the Miniatlas Series of Apps designed by EC-Europe to foster physician-patient communication.
EC-Europe prides itself as a “premier provider of doctor-patient communication products for the human health market.” EC-Europe has traditionally focused on helping a long list of leading pharmaceutical companies with their marketing strategies, specifically crafting brochures, posters, and interactive software, especially for patients, on behalf of these companies.
However, EC-Europe’s recent foray into the mobile medical world appears to be free of pharmaceutical involvement and centers on the Miniatlas Series of Apps, whose first apps just went live on July 28th. This Series strives to provide physicians with a convenient way to discuss medical topics or illnesses with patients in an illustration-centered manner.
At the present, the Series includes the following topics (shown below): Anatomy, Cardiology, Colon Cancer, Diabetes, Diseases of the Vertebral Column, Hematology, Lung Cancer, and Psoriasis. According to EC-Europe, all of these apps in the Miniatlas Series feature similar designs.
As for the Hematology Miniatlas App itself, the home screen (shown below) shows the chapters available in the app.
Each chapter (here, Malignant Lymphoproliferative Disorders) consists of a series of “images” (shown below), which, as we will see, represent well-done illustrations with text captions.
Alternatively, the “Image” function from the bottom of the home screen brings up a comprehensive list of all the app’s images (shown below).
Of course, the app’s bank of images can also be searched for with the “Search” function (here, for “lymphoma”), also found at the bottom of the home screen (shown below).
Before we delve into an example of the App’s images, here’s the “Images FAQ” that outlines how a user should and should not use the images contained in the Miniatlas Series Apps:
As you can see, EC-Europe allows the use of the images for personal and educational use (in the form of Powerpoint presentations and handouts).
Here’s an example of an image for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma:
As you can see, each image features the illustration with a text caption. Clicking on the illustration brings it up on the full screen and allows for zooming in and panning. Also of note, the envelope button in the top right corner of each screen allows the user to quickly e-mail the illustration with its accompanying text caption or the illustration alone to any email address through the user’s default email account on the iPhone.
In summary, the Hematology Miniatlas App bears detailed illustrations covering a good fraction of the field of clinical hematology. For a practicing hematologist, this app could serve as a powerful way to help quickly educate patients in clinic or on the wards on their illnesses in a visual format, and with the ability to easily e-mail the illustration of interest to the patient for later perusal. In the same vein, we can imagine how useful the Diabetes Miniatlas App would be for a practicing diabetologist to help educate a newly diagnosed diabetic, and so on. EC-Europe claims that the Miniatlas App Series has utility for medical students, but it’s difficult to endorse these products for that use, as many medical textbooks and references (also available on mobile devices, and reviewed on our site) are much more comprehensive and broad, and often feature illustrations of their own.
Pricing: The Hematology Miniatlas App costs $5.99 on the iTunes Store (the rest of the Miniatlas App Series run $4.99-$5.99 each).
-Quality and detail of the medical illustrations—it’s what EC-Europe does best, and the illustrations here do not disappoint
-Pricing is reasonable for the apps in the Miniatlas Series
-Ability to quickly e-mail a patient an illustration of their illness
Dislikes/Future Updates I’d Love to See:
-These apps are not comprehensive, lack the depth or breadth of a medical textbook
-With the limited iPhone screen size and the complexity of the illustrations, somewhat difficult for 2 people (doctor and patient) to look at together
The apps in the Miniatlas Series appear to have clinical utility for practicing physicians in their respective fields; these physicians can use the well-done illustrations to help explain illnesses and concepts to their patients.