One of the more popular uses for mobile devices in clinical settings is as a patient education tool.

We have reviewed a significant number of patient education apps in this ever increasing specialty.

One of our favourite developers is drawMD who are the focus of this review. This review will cover who drawMD are, their apps and also what makes their approach so special.


drawMD, a subsidiary of VisibleHealth, was conceived and launched by surgical oncologists and Harvard Medical School classmates Todd Morgan and Alexander Kutikov along with technology expert John Cox.

drawMD uses the iPad to enhance doctor-patient communication by offering interactive visual guides as a new tool for explaining complex issues and possible medical and surgical solutions. They have been extremely popular, as can be seen in this screenshot highlighting a number of their apps in the Top medical apps category.

The premise behind their apps is simple: 

“Select one of the detailed anatomic images or upload your own, and then sketch, stamp, or type directly on the images. The images and stamps are tailored to each specialty and allow you to explain treatments and procedures in a personalized, easily understood way. Then, share those images and notes with the patient and retain them as a record of the consultation.”

Since their launch, drawMD has covered an increasing number of specialties. The complete range is shown below complete with iTunes links. Although these apps are currently only available for the iPad, there are a number of feature requests to bring this popular app series to the Android platform.

These apps each have common strengths and weaknesses which are covered below. Physicians can access background anatomy images that cover a variety of surgical procedures which can then be personalized using individual stamps and annotations.

These stamps can be resized, moved, and/or rotated to reflect the actual situation to help improve patient understanding during the consultation. Physicians can also draw freehand and add their own annotations using multiple colors. The user interface in  all these apps is straightforward and simple to use.

Patients are often overwhelmed by the amount of information presented to them in consultations. Therefore, it is often helpful to give them a leaflet to read in their own time.

drawMD allows physicians to email the notes made in the app to the patient so they can reflect on these later. It is possible to save any image for later or as a template for future uses.

It is this ability to customize the information given to each patient and individualize the information that is given that makes this app series so popular.

Overall, the drawMD series of apps is a fantastic investment and an essential addition to any physicians iPad.


Look out for an interview with CEO of visible health, John Cox in the next few weeks.

Developer Link:  drawMD