Interpreting ECG’s is a critical skills for all physicians. Whether you’re a neurosurgeon who’s patient develops postop chest pain, an ER physician evaluating palpitations, or an anesthesiologist doing a preop evaluation, its important that all healthcare providers have at least a basic understanding of the ECG.
To that end, iMedicalApps continues our series looking at the apps out there that try to help healthcare professionals master this critical skill. In this installation, we’ll take a look at ECG Notes by Skyscape. Unlike our last app, Easy ECG, ECG Notes take a much more detailed approach to the ECG but is not appropriate for everyone.
Upon launching ECG Notes in Skyscape, the user is presented with an index of all topics covered. This application covers a wide range of relevant topics in an appropriate level of detail for practicing physicians. Switching to the table of contents presents the user with various chapters covering a wide range of different topics.
This application is clearly designed to be a reference guide for users who already understand how to read ECGs. If the user suspects that there is a particular ECG abnormality, the user can then select the abnormality within the application and compare the patient’s ECG trace with the diagnostic criteria in order to confirm or disprove their decision.
Strengths of the application include the depth of ECG theory and the wide range of potential abnormalities covered. There is no doubt that the level of detail in this application is suitable for healthcare professionals up to cardiologist ranking.
There is also a useful section which outlines critical medications and skills needed in a cardiac emergency. The medications section is particularly useful as it contains indications, dosage, contraindications, precautions and side effects for all of the major emergency drugs. And given that the app is from Skyscape, the information can generally be trusted to be accurate.
However, there are a few drawbacks. For example, there is a lack of information regarding the pathophysiology behind each trace, which would have been a helpful feature. Also of note, the high level of detail entails that on occasions, the screen appears cramped. Furthermore, the user interface is not always the smoothest to use as there is no way to easily switch onto the next page in a topic without returning to the main list.
In spite of these minor drawbacks, this is still an impressive application. It contains useful supportive explanatory material that improves the user’s understanding of the electrophysiology behind ECGs. This includes material on 12-Lead ECGs, lead placement, cardiac anatomy and physiology. Other useful features include the latest CPR guidelines, ACLS algorithms and “Clinical Tips” which provide essential clinical implications.
In addition there are 100 arrhythmias analyzed in easy-to-read six-second strips and 50 “Test Yourself ECG Strips”
- Very complete application covering a wide range of supporting explanatory material
- Emergency medication skills and medications
- Test yourself ECG strips
- User interface is sometimes frustrating
- Lack of pathophysiology behind ECG abnormalities
- This is a very detailed app that would certainly be useful for those on a cardiology rotation although the information contained within is certainly very helpful for any physician.
- Due to its reference book nature, it is not the first choice for learning about ECGs.
- However its high level of detail will certainly help consolidate existing knowledge as well as providing a handy mobile reference guide.
Check it out on iTunes here.