By: Wouter Stomp, MD

The Radiology Assistant is an app that provides you with peer-reviewed educational articles on a wide variety of radiological topics.

The content is identical to that served on the website www.radiologyassistant.nl, a website by the Radiological Society of the Netherlands, however all content is available locally without internet connection and loads very fast. This can be a great advantage at hospitals, where internet connections can be patchy and you want information available now rather than soon.

Articles are categorized in 8 areas: Abdomen, Breast, Cardiovascular, Chest, Head and Neck, Musculoskeletal, Neuroradiology and Pediatric. Currently a total of 74 articles are available with some bias towards the abdominal section with 20 articles and the musculoskeletal section with 15 articles.

New content is downloaded from within the app and at the end of each category is a link to check for new and updated articles – recently, an auto-notification feature was added.

The content of the articles is excellent. Imaging findings are presented in a clear and concise way, and topics focus on common pathology rather than zebra diagnoses. Most of the articles consist of presentations that have been adapted for the website and app. This means in most cases there will be an image, graph, or table followed by explanatory text.

The images are very clear, with arrows pointing at important features and diagrams where necessary. There are some pieces missing though; In the cardiac section you will find the movies have been left out, however there is still an empty space and the movie is still referenced in the text. Of course, adding movies would add to the size of the app, however, looking at the website most videos are short and low-res, and probably wouldn’t add much size to the app.  The videos do make the text a lot more understandable. Interactive cases are also mentioned in the articles but not available in the app.

Navigation in the app is sometimes a bit clumsy. Swipe-gestures are not as fluent as we are accustomed to on the iPhone, getting from the home-screen to the about screen frequently took multiple tries. Multiple images corresponding to the same text are navigated by pressing tiny arrows below the picture, where a swiping gesture or just displaying all images under each-other would be much more natural. Some elements have not been updated to take advantage of the improved resolution of the iPhone 4 yet, but this is a minor quibble.

Who is this for?

– Radiologists, radiology residents
– Doctors in other specialties who make frequent use of radiological
examinations
– Medical students

Positive

– Very informative, great radiological resource
– Articles on a wide variety of topics

Negative

– App navigation not as fluent as native iPhone navigation
– Interactive cases and movies not available

Summary

All-in-all this is a great resource for anyone involved or interested in radiology. The content is also freely available online, but the quick offline availability on a device you are always carrying well justifies the price. Adaptation of the website to the app is not as fluid as it could be, but it does not hinder everyday use. The iPhone’s small screen size sometimes feels constrained and thus we would look forward to an iPad version. Recommended for anyone with a more than superficial interest in radiology.

iTunes Link: Radiology Assistant

Price: E4.99/$5.99

Wouter Stomp is a physician from the Netherlands, currently doing a PhD in radiology