Patient education apps are a new developing subset of the medical app industry.
Improving patient education is essential to better patient outcomes and overall satisfaction.
Wrist Repair comes from newcomers Meditech and offers a fascinating insight into the future of surgical patient education apps.
Wrist Repair is fundamentally a very simple app. Its sole purpose is to show patients the steps required when undergoing Open Reduction and Internal Fixation (ORIF) of a distal radius fracture.
The main essence of the app is a 3D animation, with more. For starters, the animation is a complete 3D model so the patient can move the camera to whatever view they like throughout the procedure.
Furthermore, they can select one of three different views:
- An impressive 3D reconstruction of the wrist (not 100% anatomically accurate but easily more than sufficient for a patient) in an operating room
- A view purely of the bones
- An x-ray view (which is very impressive)
The camera can be moved using simple, intuitive touch gestures and zoomed using pinch to zoom.
The animation is self explanatory and punctuated with a few on-screen notes
The doctor can annotate the animation at any point using three colours and different brush strokes.
There is no way to export the annotations (unless you take a screenshot manually). I was particularly impressed with the simplicity of the app which gave a decent understanding of the steps involved in the procedure.
Obviously, the major limitation of this app is that it only covers one procedure; however, I do believe that the future of patient education apps lies with 3D animations such as the one shown here. Perhaps the biggest omission is the lack of any audio or narrative explaining the procedure. There is no way to restart the animation without quitting the app and waiting for it to load again.
It could be argued that the animation could be shown on YouTube, or any desktop computer — but the differentiator for this animation is the ability to annotate. The power of this simple yet innovative feature should not be understated — it enables Physicians to add their own unique twist to patient education.
- Impressive 3D animation/model combined with multiple views
- Ability to annotate the animation
- No audio narrative
- No way to restart the animation without quitting and relaunching the app
- While the number of healthcare professionals who will use this app is incredibly small due to its very specific role, it is still a very impressive patient education app and a good example of what can be achieved using innovative techniques.