We’ve recently reviewed a number of apps for echocardiography including tools for learning the basics and calculators that assist with interpretation.
Adding to our in-depth exploration of resources available for echocardiography, here we’ll take a look at Echocardiography PocketCards from Borm Bruckmeier Publishing.
Pocketcards are fairly common quick reference tools that focus on providing a high density of information to someone who is already familiar with the material. This app aims to provide that type of resource in a mobile format.
The app opens to a fairly busy home screen with a lot of navigation options. Before jumping in to the content of the app itself, there are several features worth highlighting that should serve as examples to any developer of clinical reference apps.
Within the Imprint section, there is information provided on authorship of the application as well as the developer. There is also a really easy to use feedback button on the Home screen (the pencil and paper icon) that opens an email to the developers. The latter is particularly important should errors be identified by a user.
There is also a helpful User guide that outlines the apps navigation options, which is something that I found initially challenging.
To dive into the apps content, we can either use the search bar or navigate through the Table of Contents. With the latter, we get an expanding menu of options to explore further. Included in the Interactive Tools are a variety of calculators. Like all of the other content areas, there are options to add notes or to favorite the section.
Here’s where navigation gets tricky. Tapping the right arrow at the top right of screen takes you to the next section listed in the Table of Contents, in this case the Classic View. The rightward arrow just below that (in the equation title bar) takes us to the next item within this section, in this case the Pressure gradient calculator. The right and left arrows at the bottom of the screen function like the forward and back buttons of a web browser–taking you to back and forth through whatever pages you most recently viewed.
For many of the other sections, the app is basically organized snapshots of portions of a print pocketcard set. Here it does pretty well in terms of a clean display of concise information. There are also content areas which are unique in terms of echo apps such as atheroma grading for TEE and inclusion a perfusion map.
A major limitation of the app is the lack of references for the information within the app. We can’t tell whether the information is from the American Society of Echocardiography guidelines, a textbook, or another professional society. There is also a general lack of context for much of the information – information is displayed purely in quick reference tables.
As such, this is really not an app for someone just learning echocardiography. If directed to an experienced echocardiographer, its unclear why some content is included like the perfusion maps or the pulmonary vein tracings.
The search function does not seem to work all that well either. As an example, searching mitral stenosis gives us a section on differential diagnosis for a wide variety of echocardiographic pathology.
Finally, there are options to review notes made as well as quickly view sections that are marked as favorites in the bottom navigation bar.
Healthcare Professionals who would benefit
- Trainees learning to interpret echocardiograms
Evidence to support use
- As noted above, the app does not include references for the source of reference values included – a major shortcoming.
- Inclusion of information on developer and authorship
- Clean display of sections of the print pocketcards
- Favorites function
- Lack of reference to source material
- Poorly executed search feature
- Somewhat confusing navigation and user interface
- This app has some useful features particularly in the inclusion of certain content not found in other echo reference apps. However its lack of references, poor search functionality, and challenging user interface limits its utility, particularly with several better choices out there.