Purpose of App Review

There are few reference apps for hazardous materials personnel that are as detailed and accurate as WISER.

This review will highlight some of the key features of the apps functionality and content as well as its use in everyday work.

Introduction

WISER is an app developed by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), a part of the National Institute’s of Health (NIH), and serves as a comprehensive reference guide for professionals responding to hazardous materials incidents. It is hard to tell when an app like this is needed as HAZMAT incidents usually occur unexpectedly.

WISER is an acronym standing for Wireless Information System for Early Responders. Professionals can look up a substance and get all the information they need regarding the broad dangers, the environmental impact, and finding emergency resources available in the area.

User Interface

The WISER interface is one based on simplicity. The homescreen gives the user four options: Search Known Substances, Browse By Category, Recent Substances, and About. The Search Known Substances option allows the user to quickly search for substance information by name instead of having to find it in the Browse By Category option, which offers exactly what it states.

The browsing option is the most detailed and robust feature of the app. It is layered with categories and broken down into very specific subjects and types of substances making it easy for a user to find what they are looking for with little confusion. Recent Substances on the homscreen offers a history of what the user has recently viewed in WISER.

Finally, the About option provides a link to get more information about WISER, its developers (NLM), and a link to a WISER support page on the web.

Evidence to Support Use

Research has taken place on developing standardized decision support systems for HAZMAT emergency situations [1]. With the rise of mobile technology and average use of mobile devices in medicine and healthcare rising, some companies and organizations have shifted to include on-the-go decision support to aid in minimizing the effect of HAZMAT incidents as early as possible [2].

Price

  • Free

Likes

  • Ease of use and detailed information about substances
  • The break down of categories of substances makes unknown names of substances easy to find
  • The About option showing transparency of app developers and where substance information is derived
  • Links pointing to more information about substances that is not included in the content of the app
  • Transparency of app developers, where the content comes from, and what auspices the app is maintained under

Dislikes

  • None to report

Healthcare providers that may benefit from app

  • WISER was created with emergency responders in mind but can also be useful to the general public in times of heightened public health awareness due to HAZMAT situations.

Conclusions

  • The WISER app is not only handy but reputable as well. It aims to provide first and emergency responders with trusted information so that they can make more informed and and quality decisions when it comes to hazardous materials incidents. WISER is intuitive to navigate, detailed in scope, and consistently functions smoothly. There are no gaps in information or blank pages, no error messages when choosing specific substances to view, and all links seem to work and point to the correct webpages.
  • Emergency personnel handling hazardous materials or responding to hazardous materials accidents should seriously consider downloading WISER as a quality decision support tool and rapid reference guide.

iMedicalApps recommended?

  • Yes

Google Play Link

Rating (1-5 stars)

Rating: (1 to 5 stars) – 4.125
1. User Interface – 5
2. Multimedia usage – 3
3. Price – 5 (no fee)
4. Real world applicability – 3.5

References 

1. Zografos KG, Vasilakis GM, Giannouli IM. Methodological framework for developing decision support systems (DSS) for hazardous materials emergency response operations. J Hazard Mater. 2000 Jan 7;71(1-3):503-21. PMID: 10677678
2. HAZMAT mobile initiative

Phone used for review: Samsung Fascinate (Galaxy S phone)

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.