One of the most challenging things we face in medicine is ensuring that our patients are completely aware of what is going on with their body.
Whether it be during a time of normal development or a period of illness, we can sometimes struggle as healthcare providers to put into plain language exactly what is going right, or wrong, with our patients.
ec-Europe and their “Miniatlas” series is seeking to improve our ability to do these things in a clinical setting and, so far, I’ve been impressed with their approach.
Some of my favorite apps to review (and use in the clinic) are patient education apps.
I am passionate about teaching my patients what is happening with their bodies and, as such, am always on the lookout for apps that can help with this endeavor.
It can be empowering and even freeing for patients to learn some basic information about their healthcare. I’ve seen a short, effective patient education session drastically improve a person’s motivation to care for themselves. The same is true for our tiniest patients, although this type of education typically involves teaching parents about their children’s health.
In this way, I think Miniatlas Pediatrics has succeeded in giving healthcare providers some valuable tools to educate parents about common pediatrics conditions.
The light, organized user interface of Miniatlas Pediatrics makes this app incredibly easy to navigate and move through. Upon initiation of the app you’re brought to a list of chapters, including things like Growth and Development, Parasitic Infections, Diseases of the Skin, etc.
Clicking on one of the chapters will allow the user to view a list of images categorized under that name.
By navigating through to one of the images the user is taken to a lengthy explanation and graphic of a particular subject matter. The graphics tend to exceed expectations with their bright colors and practical information. The ability to zoom in, particularly on the real-life examples of different rashes, is also exceedingly practical from a patient education standpoint. I can see this being used extensively in a pediatric clinic to show visual examples of viral exanthems, which can sometimes be a bit frightening to parents, and explain why they occur.
Each image has a detailed and easy -to-read explanation below it. Initially, I figured the lengthy written explanation was slightly excessive, as most providers won’t want to hand their device to a patient and tell them to sit and read.
However, the images and text are all easily emailed to a patient by clicking the envelope in the upper right hand corner, making the written information much more practical. The format and contents of the email are both useful and appropriate.
While I applaud the developer for including such well-designed, colorful graphics and throwing in some real-life examples of rashes, sometimes the information in the images can be a little overwhelming. For example, an image demonstrating “anisocytosis,” “poikilocytosis,” and “target RBC” may not be the most effective tool for educating the parent of a child newly diagnosed with Beta-Thalassemia. However, the image was a nice review for me.
All in all, some of the language and explanation is a bit detailed and “medical” for my taste. I am of the firm belief that most people, myself included, prefer a relatively basic explanation of disease processes which is free of medical jargon and unfamiliar words. By no means do all the explanations fall into the “too much information” category, but some of them definitely strike me as overwhelming from a patient standpoint.