One-Liner: Echo AUC (Free, iOS & Android) provides the latest American Society of Echocardiography appropriate use criteria for cardiac echo, including stress testing.

Strengths:

  • Includes algorithms to educate on appropriate use of stress testing in a variety of clinical situations
  • Search function works well when it comes to facilitating decision support at the point of care.

Weaknesses:

  • Organization of the apps content is otherwise not well suited for decision support, particularly for the primary care physicians who may benefit the most from its content.
  • While the actual paper is included as a PDF, its not linked to the content in the app itself.

The Bottom Line: Given the app is free, its worth downloading for the occassions where a clinical question can be answered through the search function or included algorithms; its also useful for clinicians who want to learn more about appropriate echo use in general. There are however signficant design opportunities here that could make the app more user friendly and clinically useful.

Full Review

When it comes to our healthcare system, containing and lowering costs has been front and center over the past several years. And echocardiography, along with several other diagnostic tests, has been highlighted as an opportunity to reduce utilization by helping clinicians understand the role of the echocardiogram.

The Echo Appropriate Use Criteria app from the American Society of Echocardiography is designed to help dissemintate the latest appropriate use criteria, published in 2011, for echocardiography.

The app opens to a Home Screen that has several options for reviewing the content.

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The first is through a hierarchical organization structure that has several layers before you get to the actual content; it takes four taps to get to the actual recommendations on native valvular stenosis. The app includes recommendations for transthoracic echo, transesophageal echo, stress echo, and contrast-enhanced echo.

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The next option is to view the content by appropriateness rating. The main utility I can see here is for a clinician trying to learn about inappropriate testing.

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The app also includes several algorithms focused on the use of stress testing, a modality frequently ordered by non-cardiologists where decision support tools from reputable organizations could be a huge help. The design is a bit clunky but its functional.

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Finally, the app also includes a search feature that works well and is probably the most pertinent in terms of providing decision support at the point of care. For example, a primary care physician can quickly figure out what the appropriate surveillance is for a patient that has mild aortic stenosis. Its not a comprehensive resource, but it does quickly answer the focused question here.

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The app also includes the PDF of the appropriate use manuscript. A useful improvement on the app would be to link the recommendations in the app to the part of the manuscript they come from.

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  • Price
    • Free
  • Overall Score
  • User Interface

    Simple but could be improved by reducing steps needed to get to actual information.

  • Multimedia Usage

    Expanding tables are about it, but not much more needed here

  • Price

    Can’t beat free

  • Real World Applicability

    Good for offline education, less well suited for point-of-care decision support

  • Device Used For Review

    iPhone 5S

  • Available for DownloadAndroidiPhoneiPad