By: PJ Lally MD

Chest X-ray training by Polwarth Medical is a multiple choice study tool for those needing training and review of chest x-ray images. With over a hundred cases, the medical app covers a fairly wide breadth of topics so even those familiar with the basic chest x-ray can learn a few new tricks.

The challenge, however, is that learning to read a chest radiograph is an art developed over time. In a CXR it can be easy to see congestive heart failure, but it is a greater challenge to find the subtleties.

My main challenge to those trying to make medical apps is to get into the subtleties as best as possible.

This medical app does a fair job. It gives you enough cases that you learn a trick here and there, but it lacks by not going into the techniques via a standard approach.

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The app is built for the iPhone with the opening screen allowing you to choose from either a 10 or 20 question quiz. The user is then shown a chest x-ray and given a list of four multiple choice options. After choosing an answer the same image is shown with annotations and a paragraph explanation of findings. There are at times additional images including CT slices and lateral films within the explanation.

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Evidence to support use

  • The app cites the Yale Center for Advanced Instructional Media and Radiology Assistant as the two sources used.

Price

  • $ 2.99

Likes

  • Quiz format.
  • Answer card with explanation of finding.
  • Favorite section for marking questions you would like to see again.

Dislikes

  • It is difficult to scroll between the images and the questions. Once you have zoomed in on the image you have to resize it back to normal to have the done box appear. This box can be somewhat difficult to click as it keeps disappearing when my finger does not perfectly click the box.
  • Not made for iPad.
  • One of my main recommendations noted above would be to teach via a standard approach. One way the app could accomplish this is by breaking the cases into sections. For example, it could teach heart border via one quiz, lung fields by another, airway by a third, etc. The user could choose among these quizzes or use a random mode.

Healthcare providers that would benefit from the app

  • Physicians who want to hone skills and all residents, mid-levels, and students.

Conclusion

  • Good for a quick review of chest x-rays. Use it a few times to get your bearings and learn the cases and then likely move on.
  • As of publish, there is no Android version available.

Type of Device used to review app Version of App–iPhone 5 and iPad with retina display.

iTunes Link

Rating: 4 Stars

1. User Interface: 4 stars- Difficult to transition between images and questions
2. Multimedia usage: 3 stars- Images are easy enough to see clearly but not extremely high quality for zooming or scrolling.
3. Price: 4 stars- Reasonable
4. Real world applicability: 3 stars- Learning a chest radiograph is an art developed over time and by using a standard approach. This app could be more applicable if it taught an approach and did not limit itself to simple flashcards.

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 healthcare provider. It does not provide the definitive statement on the subject addressed. Before using these apps please consult with your own physician or healthcare provider.