Patient Centric App Review Series

App Reviewed: iHeart Touch (Ver. 1.0)
Goals of app review:

  1. To determine if iHeart Touch may be beneficial as a tool for providers to educate their patients on cardiovascular disease and interventions
  2. Evaluate the ease of use of the application as an educational tool

Introduction:

Educating patients on their disease states is a complex task. This may be due to the time available, educational materials, and the location.

Explaining to someone they have heart disease in the Emergency Room is more difficult than in a quiet office setting.

Utilization of smart device applications may help serve as a point-of-care educational tool for patients. The benefits of such apps include: consolidated information, audio/visual demonstrations, and ease-of-use.

iHeart Touch was developed by Nucleus Medical Media, Inc., a creator of medical illustrations and animations that supports interactive multimedia to help visually demonstrate medically related topics.

Nucleus Medical Media aims to release numerous apps onto the market that pull together their current extensive library of medical animations and illustrations to help serve as an educational tool for providers. iHeart Touch is their first app designed to address issues such as atherosclerosis and its complications. Additionally, topics also covered included PCI and CABG.

App Specifics:

Last Updated: June 15, 2012
Compatibility: iPad
Requires: iOS 4.0 or later
Reviewed on:  iPad 2

Upon opening the app, the user is brought to a screen that displays an interactive guide for coronary artery disease (CAD). Here the user may initiate the interactive guide that demonstrates what CAD is and potential problems.

This interactive guide allows the user to click and navigate through the problems of CAD and its pathogenesis. In addition, there is a drop menu at the top that allows the user several options. This includes the ability to highlight parts of the interactive illustrations, display videos of key topics, and also to email handouts to the patient.

This image demonstrates the ability to superimpose over the interactive guide a video that demonstrates what atherosclerosis is.

Here is a sample handout that can be emailed to a patient.

Clicking through the interactive guide and moving to key discussion points is done by selecting the highlight blue portions.

Other than the interactive guide on coronary artery disease, there are several animations supplied (that can also be played while doing the interactive guide as mentioned) which include: atherosclerosis, CABG, angiography, coronary angioplasty, and anatomy of the aorta.

Lastly, clicking on the information link in the top right corner of the app brings the user to further information on the developers and contact information.

Healthcare Goals:

The goals of iHeart Touch are to serve as point-of-care patient educational tool for utilization of practitioners to easily communicate with their patients on cardiovascular issues. Specifically this applies to atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, PCI, and CABG.

Evidence to Support Goals:

There is limited data published currently evaluating the integration of medical apps as patient education tools currently. Additionally, no studies are currently evaluating the benefit of educational apps on patient outcomes.

As such, there is limited clinical evidence to support the goals of this app. However, due to the nature of patient education and the premise of the app to help serve as a tool, this does not necessarily detract from the overall value of the iHeart Touch app.

Price:

  • Free

Likes:

  • The app is very user friendly and easy to navigate
  • App is done in simple patient friendly language that helps address key issues
  • Topics covered are important and visually demonstrated well through illustrations and animations
  • Ability to email handouts for patients is beneficial

Dislikes:

  • Would like to see interactive ability expanded
  • Ability to pause video and highlight key parts would be beneficial as well
  • Similar to emailing the handouts for patients, would like to be able to email the links of the animations as well for future reference

What type of provider may benefit from this app?

  • Cardiologist
  • Cardiothoracic Surgeon
  • Primary Care Provider

What type of patient may benefit from this app?

  • Patients with coronary artery disease
  • Patients at risk for cardiovascular complications
  • Patients undergoing cardiovascular intervention

Conclusions:

  • iHeart Touch addresses patient education on cardiovascular issues through illustrations and animations through a great and simple to use app
  • Pros – Easy to navigate user interface that has easily to understand language to help communicate cardiovascular issues to patients
  • Cons – In the future, could give more interaction with the app, and possibly implement patient interaction as well

Bottom Line:

iHeart Touch is a great educational tool to use with patients who have CAD, and those that may be undergoing surgical interventions. The UI is easy to use and the topics addressed are done in an efficient and language easily understandable.

iTunes Link

 

Disclaimer:
This post does not establish, nor is it intended to establish, a patient physician relationship with anyone. It does not substitute for professional advice, and does not substitute for an in-person evaluation with your health care provider. It does not provide the definitive statement on the subject addressed. Before using these apps please consult with your own physician or health care provider as to the apps validity and accuracy as this post is not intended to affirm the validity or accuracy of the apps in question. The app(s) mentioned in this post should not be used without discussing the app first with your health care provider.