By: Matthew DiPaola, MD
For some, the physical exam is a lost art. This app from Clinically Relevant technology seeks to change that not only by teaching exam maneuvers, but also by treating them like any other diagnostic and sharing the evidence base for their use.
This review reprises a previous iMedicalApps review of Clinically Relevant Technologies’ CORE app from 2009. As one of the more content heavy and potentially practical musculoskeletal apps, we wanted to bring it up again to see if there are any new bells and whistles that have come with the rounds of updates.
For those of you who didn’t catch Dr. Felasfa Wodajo’s previous review, the Clinical Orthopedic Exam (CORE) app is a multimedia source of over 250 different musculoskeletal physical exam maneuvers. It is indexed by body area in picture and text format, is comprehensive and very well referenced. It’s certainly not your average app.
Each physical exam test is well described and contains a YouTube video link that demonstrates the proper way to perform the test. Of note, the app also includes a synopsis of the statistical validity of the particular test as well as links to scientific references that describe the test.
Overall the design has not changed. It is clean and intuitive. You do however, still encounter the long disclaimer when you first log into the app. Happily, the developers seemed to have taken some of the feedback to heart and added a memory feature to the app, so that it now holds your previous location if you leave the app and then come back.
There is also now a search tab on the bottom right and a favorites button on the bottom left that allow you to save and find tests of your liking. The favorites button is useful since each clinician has their own set of physical exam maneuvers that they feel works best in certain situations. Having them available quickly for physicians that teach should prove beneficial.
One of Dr. Wodajo’s criticisms of the last version of the app was that the statistical references were a bit heavy on the abbreviations. They are still abbreviated; however, there are readily available statistical review and legend buttons that should clarify any jargon. I personally applaud the authors for being so exhaustive in their inclusion of this data.
One big noticeable change in the app since we last reviewed it is the price. It’s gone up from $29.99. to $39.99. While the app can be considered expensive, I believe you get what you pay for.
I have used textbooks that contain information similar to this app in the past which cost more. Arguably, one is getting better value in app form as it is updated regularly, has multimedia, and is portable, but that’s up to you to decide.
A general note about apps with high price tags: they often give a potential user pause. What if you don’t like it? Since most apps are either free or very cheap, you can easily try them and discard them if you are not a frequent user. I wonder if a limited trial version (partially activated or 1 day subscription) might be a good way to attract reticent potential buyers.
- Content heavy with a large amount of diverse, practical knowledge that is backed up by well referenced data
- The developers seem to have addressed many criticisms from past reviews
- Videos still did not have sound so they really work best if you read the description first and then watch the demonstration
- You won’t get all of the information you may want from watching the video alone
- On the iPhone, some of the text that was overlaid on the videos was blurry and a difficult to read, better seen on a larger format, though I knew for the most part what I was reading from the descriptions on the app
- The cost may be a barrier to the more casual user
- I think that if you look at what you are getting- namely textbook level material in such a portable format – there’s a good case for this app