One of the major successes of the iPad as a tool for healthcare professionals has been the vast range of anatomy apps that have been developed for the platform. Anatomy is inherently an incredibly visual complex modality which has been taken to a new level with mobile devices such as the iPad.

Here at iMedicalApps, we have decided to take a look at the anatomy apps currently available for the iPad to try and select a range that we consider the most useful for healthcare professionals. We have decided to focus on the iPad as we feel the large screen on this device is best suited to the task.

Unfortunately, the development of anatomy apps for Android tablets is lagging behind Apple’s iOS and therefore not suitable for this current discussion. Furthermore, the majority of healthcare professionals who own a tablet, own an iPad.

The first app we are going to look at in this series is an atypical anatomy app. Instant Anatomy Lectures: Topics In Focus. Robert Whitaker is an eminent anatomist who has written a whole range of lectures covering all aspects of anatomy and runs a website dedicated to aiding learning in human anatomy.

Here we take a look at one of his apps in which he presents a number of topics in audiovisual lecture format.

The app itself is sort of utilitarian but functional. Opening the app reveals three options – An Introduction, Lectures, and a link to the Instant Anatomy Website. The introduction contains some background information on Robert Whitaker and links to his other anatomy apps.

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The ‘Lectures’ tab contains 38 audiovisual lectures which cover a range of topics focusing on important anatomical regions such as the brachial plexus or the skull foramina and their contents.

Rather than list them all here, see the screenshot below (from iTunes) which lists them all. The main areas covered here tend to be the finer points of anatomy rather than the gross musculoskeletal that is usually presented.

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Selecting a lecture starts a slideshow which is narrated by Robert Whitaker in which he introduces a topic and discusses it while the slides update themselves. At this point, it is important to note that the drawings used in this app (and the rest of instantanatomy.net) are hand-drawn and at first glance appear relatively basic.

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05_altHowever, I have found that this style is appropriate for learning anatomy as it is easy to understand and pick out the important anatomical concepts. The liberal use of colour in the simplistic diagrams ensures that it is straightforward to comprehend the anatomy.

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07_altWhile the quality of the diagrams would not be appropriate for those practicing surgical training, the combination of audio and visual input mean learning/understanding anatomy is straightforward. Each lecture is covered in approximately ten minutes which is useful if you have a couple of minutes spare and want to quickly refresh your memory.

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09_altOne annoying feature is that each lecture is broken down into a number of major slides and the user has to manually advance to the next slide using a ‘next’ button every time the narrator says so.

In order to gain a complete understanding of the anatomy of the human body, the user would need to purchase the other apps offered by Robert Whitaker, although, these are all still reasonably priced.

Price:

  • $9.99 for the universal app ($5.99 until 12/21)

Likes:

  • Audiovisual lectures present a different approach to learning anatomy
  • Simple colorful diagrams aid learning and understanding

Dislikes:

  • Manually advancing each slide to the ‘next’ one

Overall Rating:

  • This is a great app for students learning anatomy for the first time and healthcare professionals looking for a quick refresher
  • The combination of audio and visual stimulus will appeal to those who may have different learning styles whilst the low price will appeal to everyone

iTunes link: