The end of the year is always marked with reflection over what has occurred the past 12 months.

Apple, like many companies, has produced a list of its top apps in many categories found in iTunes called Apple Rewind 2011.

While the criteria for picking the winners is probably loosely based on the amount of downloads and the overall popularity, the picks are still solely chosen by Apple’s editorial staff, and thus there is probably an element of bias in the choices.  You might remember the criticism we levied at Apple recently about their “Apps for Healthcare Section” — a section in iTunes that made an attempt at categorizing the medical category.  Although we personally wouldn’t rank these apps as the top 5, they do list some great medical apps.

Today we will look at the five winners based on Apple in the medical category. We have provided the iTunes links at the end of the article.  Not surprisingly, some of the winners in the medical category are FDA approved apps, and we’ve done extensive commentary and reviews on all the apps mentioned.

AirStrip Cardiology, the cardiac patient monitoring solution from AirStrip Technologies Inc., has been named one of the best US medical application for the iOS platform by the Apple Editorial Staff. Airstrip Cardiology combines wireless mobile transmission of ECGs, digital visual enhancement and touch screen capabilities as well as automatic access to historical data, enabling more informed and timely decisions by cardiologists.  The app is FDA approved and HIPAA compliant.

We actually got a sneak peak at AirStrip Cardiology before it came out at HIMSS 2010 — make sure to check out the video.

Dr. Shaival Kapadia, a Cardiologist at St. Francis Medical Center, a Bon Secours facility in Virginia, explains why the app is so popular.

“Even if you’re not at home, you can quickly pick up your phone, view the EKG, and take care of patients remotely.  AirStrips makes it seamless. The nurse runs the EKG, processes it, and instantly it’s pushed to your phone. That’s huge because that determines whether I rush to the hospital to take care of this patient, or whether it’s something that the ER can handle.”

A review from the imedicalapps team of Airstrip OB is going to be released next week.

Another top choice from Apple’s editorial staff is the Skeletal System Pro II – (NOVA Series).  This app  allows users to manipulate the entire skeletal system — allowing you to stop at various angles with a simple click or tap.  Additionally, the app not only gives the standard anatomical views, but allows user to view bones from different angles such as anterior, lateral, posterior, medial, (and inferior and superior when available).

We reviewed a sister app of Skeletal Systems Pro, called Muscle System Pro — an app that offers similar types of functionality, but for the muscle system.

EyeDecide MD was also chosen as a best app from the medical category.  Orca MD has developed a series of anatomically precise mobile apps to help clinicians explain to their patients various anatomy based on the diseases they are treating.  The iMedicalApps team has previously reviewed other Orca MD apps, KneeDecide and ShoulderDecide, which offer similar functionality to EyeDecide.  The app allows patients to view the eye in 360 degrees. You have the ability to explore the eye’s anatomy and rotate, expand, shrink, annotate, and move the eye in any direction.  Users can also see common eye conditions and available treatment options.

Mobile MIM, another FDA approved app, also received the distinction of one of the best medical apps for the iOS platform. The Mobile MIM platform is used for the viewing, registration, fusion, and/or display for diagnosis of medical images from the following modalities: SPECT, PET, CT, MRI, X-ray and, as was recently reported, Ultrasound. It has an extensive toolkit for viewing/manipulating images, local and cloud storage capabilities as well as many other features.

We did an extensive review of Mobile MIM earlier in the year — we even included a hands on video review of the app.

Finally, VueMe was also selected as a top medical app for 2011. VueMe allows patients to store and share their medical images on the cloud, and interfaces with the physician centered  Mobile MIM app. VueMe is the patient-centered counterpart to MobileMIM. We previously reported on the ability of this app to empower patients who want some control over viewing their medical data, and we are pleased that it was chosen by Apple.

Overall, the apps that were chosen by Apple’s editorial staff represent quality choices of apps that have real utility.

iTunes Links to Apple’s top medical apps for the iPhone and iPad:

Cory Schultz contributed to this piece.