Purpose of App Review

  • How does the MyATLS app supplement the traditional ATLS curriculum?

Introduction

Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) is a course for physicians created by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma.

To date, over 1.5 million doctors in more than 50 countries have taken the course.

This course teaches a systematic, comprehensive approach to evaluating and treating trauma patients.

MyATLS is an iOS and Android designed to supplement to the ATLS textbook. It contains resources for self study and for “just-in-time” learning at the bedside.

User Interface

The app contains a review of each book chapter, a series of videos demonstrating common trauma procedures, review of steps for skills stations, and clinical resources including calculators, checklists and high yield diagrams.

Each chapter from the text is briefly summarized with links to related content and more detailed descriptions of important skills.

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Some chapter summaries contain relevant algorithms for evaluation and management of airway, pelvic fractures, and head injuries.

IMG_0285 The app contains 21 videos, most between 30 seconds and 3 minutes long. The videos demonstrate essential skills necessary in the care of trauma patients. These videos are designed to be used for self study as well as at the bedside

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They use a combination of digital animations and simulation with live and synthetic models or cadavers to demonstrate procedures like endotracheal intubation, chest tube placement, needle thoracentesis, and criocothyroidotomy.

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The Resources section contains helpful diagrams and calculators related to GCS, the Parkland formula for burns, BMI, dermatomes, myotomes, muscle strength grading, and unit conversion.

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I found this app very user friendly with great resources for self study. I’m more skeptical about how useful it would be for just-in-time learning. For those who rarely see trauma, reviewing a video about how to put a chest tube in before doing it may be helpful.

However, as an Emergency Medicine resident in a level 1 trauma center, I’m expected to know these procedures so that I can perform them in a timely manner at the bedside.

In contrast, the calculators and algorithms may actually be useful at the bedside. Also, the algorithms would be easier to review at the bedside without the question prompts and instead as a full decision tree.

Price

  • Free with activation code from the 9th edition ATLS textbook
  • $9.99 in-app purchase for full access without the textbook

Likes

  • Excellent procedure videos
  • Helpful diagrams
  • High yield concept review

Dislikes

  • Algorithms require answering questions about the case instead of showing a complete decision tree

Healthcare providers that would benefit from the app

  • Physicians who must obtain ATLS certification

Conclusions

  • MyATLS provides a succinct, high yield summary of the ATLS text and adds useful procedural videos for learners.
  • This mobile app is a strong supplement to the original text for the course and may add value by providing important resources at the bedside.

iMedicalApps recommended?

  • Yes

iTunes link
Google Play link

Rating: 4.25 / 5

  • User Interface – 4 – Clean overall, but algorithms not ideal.
  • Multimedia usage – 5 – Excellent procedure videos.
  • Price – 4 – $9.99 or free with a new ATLS text
  • Real world applicability – 4 – Useful for self study, but likely of limited use at the bedside

Compatibility: iPhone, iPad, Android
Reviewed Version: v1.6.0.16
Tested on: iPad 2 running iOS 6.1.2

References
Committee on Trauma, American College of Surgeons (2008). ATLS: Advanced Trauma Life Support Program for Doctors (8th ed.). Chicago: American College of Surgeons.

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.