By: Darwin Wan, MS2
Endoscopy is a very exciting field of medicine encompassing both diagnosis and treatment. It allows us to perform remarkable tasks including visualize anatomy and pathology, biopsy and ultrasound tissues, insert stints and resect masses.
Much teaching however, is done using expensive virtual endoscopy simulators that are often reserved for residents and fellows. Where are medical students to go for their endoscopy education?
iBronch is an app that aims to help students learn the basic anatomy of the trachea and bronchi through the lens of a fiberoptic bronchoscope. By dragging your finger across a schematic of the pulmonary tree, you are able to view corresponding bronchoscopic images of the corresponding anatomy. Branches of the pulmonary tree are labeled on the schematic and the bronchoscopy images.
The app also gives the option of turning off the anatomy labeling so that the bronchoscopy is unobstructed.
The last option available is the ability to view the entire bronchoscopy as it was performed on video
Unfortunately, as short as this review has been, all the features of the app have been covered. iBronch’s basic idea is good, but the content is just too limited to be very useful, even for students. The app basically boils down a video of a bronchoscopy, with different points in the video triggered depending on which part of the schematic your finger is on.
iBronch would provide much greater value if it could be expanded to include other modes of endoscopy, such as colonoscopy, cystoscopy, nasopharyngoscopy, laryngoscopy, and esophagogastroduodenoscopy. iBronch would also be greatly enhanced if there was the ability to view different types lung pathology and descriptions of them, rather than just viewing normal anatomy. In its current form, iBronch falls far short of the mark set by virtual endoscopy simulators.
I encourage the developers to add more content to the app to enhance its value as a teaching tool. A 3D rendering of the pulmonary tree and the ability to control the head of the bronchoscope (ie. perform maneuvers such as looking up, down, rotation, retroflexion and the J-maneuver) would be most ideal. But for now, iBronch’s content is just too limited to be useful for medical professionals.
- Bronchoscopy video with pertinent anatomy labeled
- Content is too limited to be useful
- iBronch provides a brief overview of bronchoscopy, but its sparse content limits its usefulness in education.