The NEJM recently released a medical app for a popular feature on their website – the “Image Challenge”. To those not aware, if you go to the New England Journal of Medicine website there is a prominently displayed widget that takes you to an Image Challenge feature. This feature gives you hundreds of diagnostic images accompanied with multiple choice questions and answers. The images range from classic dermatological findings to radiographic imaging.
The online Image Challenge feature is robust with a great user interface and solid question set, enabling you to zoom into images, see how others have answers the questions, and allows you to e-mail out and save images. This free feature on the NEJM website is popular with many healthcare professionals, leading the Journal to make an analogous $2.99 mobile medical app.
Also, to those who haven’t already — make sure you download the free New England Journal of Medicine app called “This Week” for the iPhone. It recently was ranked #3 in our top 20 free iPhone medical apps list.
Overall the Image Challenge app provides some great functionality, but as the following review shows, there are some key features we would like to see in subsequent updates.
What the app does well:
*Brings almost all the functionality of the online version to mobile app form:
– Ability to zoom in and out of images. This is particularly useful for the radiology images.
– Can randomize images or view by recent. Per the iTunes description, the images are updated on a weekly basis.
– Can see how others have responded to multiple choice answers.
How the app could improve:
– There is an e-mail out feature online, but not in the mobile app. One would think this would be relatively easy to integrate into the application.
– Facebook and Twitter integration. Everything is social now, and having the ability to share particularly interesting images via Facebook and Twitter would be a great feature, and only allow the app to gain in popularity.
– No iPad customization. Technically, all iPhone compatible apps will run on the iPad – but if they aren’t customized for the iPad they look distorted and pixilated. It would have been extremely easy for the makers of the app to scale it for the iPad, unfortunately, they have not.
– No Android support, as the OS continues to gain in popularity, we hope to see more medical developers port their applications to Android.
For $2.99 the New England Journal of Medicine has brought their Image Challenge feature on their website to mobile form via an iPhone app. Overall, the medical app has a good interface and brings quality functionality for health care professionals and students in the form of diagnostic medical imaging questions. We hope the Journal decides to bring the application to the Android platform and also customizes the app for the iPad — where a larger screen view would make the app even more appealing.