Focus Medica has recently released a series of “animated medical pocket dictionaries” on the Android platform.
Their apps cover topics ranging from Cardiology and Dermatology to Orthopedics and Urology.
The apps attempt to cover the unique terminologies of different disciplines and supplement their explanations with 3D CG animations.
These apps are all free to download and install, but require in-app purchases of around 7 dollars to use.
Otherwise, users are only presented with limited number of entries and animations to browse with. Now let’s sample Focus Medica’s series with one of their apps, Respiratory Diseases, and see what they have to offer.
Some people say learning medicine is like learning a new language. Definitely true in some ways: we spend countless hours learning new terminology, specific writing formats, and verbal presentations to effectively communicate with other colleagues. Even though most of us will become proficient in “medical language” by the time we start working, we inevitably will encounter new terminology or descriptive phrases that we may still be unfamiliar with, especially when dealing with specialized fields.
The layout of this dictionary app is straightforward. All the terminology included is organized by the first alphabet of each letter. All entries included in the app are accompanied by a short description and an animated CG video clip. The description is used to narrate the accompanying video. The app initially has 5 entries serving as demos before the buy. The majority of contents in the app will only be available to users after making the $7.33 in-app purchase.
The descriptions are concise and well written, allowing for easy understanding of respiratory terminology. The animations are vivid and easy to understand as well, even for those who aren’t involved with healthcare practices.
According to the app’s Google Play page, there is a total of 89 entries. Respiratory Diseases cover basic terms, such as “Lungs,” “Contagious,” and “Wind Pipe” (perhaps a little too basic?), to the more complicated ones, such as “Broncioloaveloar Carcinoma” and “Emphysema.”
The list of entries is so far from being comprehensive, and there is definitely a large deficiency in the number of entries. On the spot, I can think of about 20+ pulmonary terms that should be in this “pocket dictionary,” which are not even too rare or complicated to discuss, such as “Surfactant, “Small Cell Lung Cancer,” or “Vital Capacity.”
Other than the lack of entries, the terminology descriptions themselves are just too generic and basic to even benefit a medical student learning the terms for the very first time. For example,
“Bronchoscope – Bronschope is a long, flexible instrument consisting of a tube with a light at the end, used for the examination of the interior of the bronchi.”
Compare that description to one from TheFreeDictionary.com.
The animations, although vivid and nicely illustrated, may sometimes consist of absolutely useless pictures of patients to, I guess, fill up time. For example, under the term “Flu,” there is a dedicated segment in its animation demonstrating “weakness” by illustrating a lady laying on the couch.
To be fair, for this review, I did not cough up the $7.33 in-app purchase for the whole app. After realizing how lacking in detail the app is, I could not justify supporting Focus Medica and wasting my money.
- Free to install, with an in-app purchase of $7.33.
- Well designed dictionary app with easy navigation
- Descriptions are well written and easy to understand
- Rich media experience with inclusion of 3D animated videos for each dictionary entry
- Expensive, requiring $7.33 in-app purchase to even use the app
- Lack in core content. Entries are too minimal to be useful for students or healthcare professionals. Descriptions and animations too basic and generic to be helpful as well.
- Space filling entries such as “Contagious” and “Lungs.”
- Seriously lacking in content–no “Surfactant?”
Respiratory Diseases from Focus Medica is a bad app. It is filled with a lot of “fluff,” and lacks in the core content department. In my opinion, the app is barely suitable to be used by the average layman, and medical professionals and students should definitely toss this one in the trash. Don’t forget, the developers are also charging the insane price of $7.33 to even use the app.
Focus Medica has raised a couple red flags already just based on this app alone. I highly doubt the other “pocket dictionary” apps from Focus Medica would be any better.