Echocardiography is a cornerstone of assessment of cardiac function.

While traditionally reserved to the domain of cardiology, echo is now being increasingly used as a point-of-care tool by intensivists, emergency medicine clinicians, and others.

As such, there is an increasing need for mobile tools to learn and review echocardiography, and not just for cardiologists.

Epocrates’ Echocardiography Atlas is a comprehensive reference app that contains a large library of echo images and video. After giving it a spin, we were left pretty impressed with the quality of this app.

Here’s why.

Overall, the app is exceptionally well organized and easy to navigate. In large part, that stems from its simplicity. On opening the app, we arrive at the Home screen where there are several options for accessing the app’s content.

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The first option is the All Figures section which offers us the option to scan or search all of the figures and videos contained in the app. A quick review of the list here highlights the impressive depth of information within the app. One opportunity for improvement would be to move the search function to the Home screen.

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The next option, Bookmarks, lets us review interesting images in the app that we have marked for quick access. This option can be particularly useful if you use the app for teaching or even for patient education.

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Scrolling down, we find the content of the app organized into several chapters. For anyone starting out learning echocardiography, the first section – the Normal Exam – is outstanding. It contains a comprehensive set of both labeled images and videos of the traditional echo views. It is a great resource for both reviewing and for interpreting echos.

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Otherwise, the content is generally organized anatomically or around specific pathologies like cardiomyopathy. Each chapter includes a list of subtopics and a search bar at the top. For example, diving in to the myocardial infarction section there are over a dozen subtopics. Within each subtopic is generally a brief description that is labeled echo image and a video. The videos are of excellent quality and include a function for scrolling frame by frame.

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Below the chapters is a section on normal values in echocardiography. This section, while useful, is not as well designed as the others. In portrait mode, the tables are cut off and thus require a fair amount of back and forth swiping to use. There are also no references for where these values are obtained.

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The app’s authorship is attributed to editors Dr. Scott Solomon and Dr. Bernard Bulwer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Karl Heusneer Memorial Hospital in Belize respectively. Clicking on the e link in the top right gives additional options to launch the Epocrates App, rate it, or contact the developer. An important addition here in future updates would be a privacy policy, though we do know that Epocrate’s general privacy policy applies here as well – a topic we’ve recently discussed.

Overall, this app is well organized, easy to navigate, and full of useful and reliable content. While there are some improvements that could be made, we were left pretty impressed. At a price of free, it is a pretty attractive option for cardiologists, emergency medicine physicians, intensivists, anesthesiologists, and others who use echocardiography.

One important consideration for individual clinicians considering this app is the privacy policy, which allows a fair amount of personal, identifying information disclosure particularly during periods when the app has a specific sponsor.

Price:

  • Free

Likes:

  • Simple and easy to navigate UI
  • Content organization makes sense
  • Images and videos are of high quality
  • Very comprehensive

Dislikes:

  • Would move or include search function on Home screen
  • Add references for normal values section in particular
  • Include link to privacy policy
  • Not optimized for iPad – a shame considering the visual nature of the app

Conclusion:

  • Epocrates’ Echocardiography Atlas is an outstanding resource for anyone learning or using echocardiography.

iTunes Link