Purpose of the App Review:
1) Will I better understand my patients’ cultures, beliefs and practices?
2) Can I trust that the app’s information is accurate for something as abstract as culture?
3) How much information does the app include about various cultures?
iPhone (3GS and later), iPad (compatible) , iPod Touch (3rd generation and later)
iOS 5.0 or later
We live in a melting pot of cultures. One of the places that may be most obvious is the hospital. It’s incredibly important to understand, at least in brief, our patients’ cultures and backgrounds to ensure the therapy options we pursue are in line with their beliefs.
The developers of Medical Guide to Culture want to reduce the cultural barriesr that many times separates us from those who need our care by delivering medically relevant content about various cultures, beliefs and religious practices. The app is produced by Jeremy Morse, an OR nurse from Dallas, TX. The content of this app was found using hundreds of personal interviews.
The app opens with a table to help the user find which country, region, or religion they would like to learn more about.
There are approximately 14 countries included in this app. The developers have quite a ways to go if they would like to make this a truly comprehensive app. The countries included (Austria, Brazil, China, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Romania, Philippines, United Kingdom, United States and Zimbabwe) are probably the most common places immigrant patients are from.
The content for the countries is not as generalized as the region section is. However, the section would benefit if large countries with huge immigrant populations like China and India had subsections for states or regions within those countries. For example, subsections for India could be by ethnic group or by states (there are 28 states and 22 official languages in India).
The region section includes all of the inhabited continents. The content for certain regions is not very useful. Considering “Asia” has almost 4 billion inhabitants, a few lines of text will not represent the culture of even a small fraction of that population.
The religion section includes the major world religions.
- Good idea – many cultures are not well represented in our society
- Is a good start for the user who really has no clue about a culture
- Basic information like how to greet patients (handshakes, bows, etc) is helpful
- Simple app that is easy to navigate
- The app needs to generalize to keep the text concise
- There are no subcategories for sections that represent very large groups of people. (i.e. no subsection for India or China)
- There are only 14 countries represented on the app – a lot of content needs to be added
- As the content grows, the developer will need to add a search function to help users find information they’re specifically looking for
- The information has been collected from personal interviews. Citing information from religious and cultural experts or literature would have increased the reliability of the app.
Healthcare providers that would benefit from the app:
- Allied Health
- Social workers
- Medical Guide to Culture tries to lower healthcare worker-patient culture barrier.
- The app covers major world religions and geographic areas.
- The content of the app many times are generalizations of cultural beliefs that may apply to a small part of that population.
- The app does not subcategorize large geographic areas. So a small population (Austria -8 million people) has the same content devoted on this app a large population (India – 1.2 billion people).
- The app is a work in progress. The app needs a lot of content added and more sources before it can be a considered a reliable source of cultural information for healthcare workers. As the developers grow the app’s content, it will hopefully grow to be a popular app that adds value to the patient care team.
- Overall: 2/5 Stars
- User Interface: 3/5 Stars. Simple. Easy to navigate. As content grows, a search function will be helpful.
- Multimedia Coverage: 1/5 Stars. No multimedia use. Adding an interactive map may be helpful.
- Price: 2/5 Stars. The app does have some value but probably not $0.99 worth.
- Real World Applicability: 2/5 Stars. Useful if someone is completely clueless about a particular culture.
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.