Review of the “Pediatric Growth Chart” for “iPhone and iPad”
Tracking a child’s growth is an essential task of the pediatric primary care provider. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends pediatricians check a child’s height, weight and head circumference 11 times by the age of 2, and their height and weight annually after that. Furthermore, their child’s growth is a frequent source of anxiety for many parents.
While many electronic medical record vendors integrate growth charts into their EHR offerings, and despite HITECH, not every pediatric provider has access to EMHRs. And for those that do, few will have growth charts that are as easy to use and share as the Pediatric Growth Chart app developed by the Boston Children’s Hospital Informatics Program.
The app has a simple, easy-to-use interface. It opens to a screen where one can input the child’s age, length, weight and head circumference and see the child’s percentages in either WHO or CDC formats. One can also create a new entry for a child and track their measurements. The app has a nice feature where it automatically changes the “head circumference” input to “BMI” for children over 24 months.
More useful than the percentile calculator is the “Choose a Child” feature. After choosing the birthday and gender (with the option to upload a picture), users enter the child’s anthropometric measurements and the app will place it on a number of WHO and CDC growth charts.
Users can easily choose to limit which growth charts to show, such as choosing to display only WHO or CDC growth charts.
The iPhone version lets you select either a table with values or a list of growth charts, while the iPad version displays both.
Selecting one of the growth charts calls up the charts in their familiar format and users can change the size and format of the data points. A nice feature is the app’s ability to input the name and data in tabular format on the growth charts, permit users to edit the data points, and name or add comments. Unfortunately, unlike the data points themselves, these changes are not saved between uses.
Once the charts are created the PDFs can be shared via AirDrop, message or email and printed via AirPrint. There is no password and no evident passcode requirement, so it is unclear what data security standards are being used or whether the app is HIPAA compliant.
There is no option to open in other apps, such as Notability or Dropbox, and the sharing was a bit buggy — some of the charts were emailed as blank PDFs without the inputted data.
Disclosure: I am an employee of Boston Children’s Hospital but was not involved in the making of this app.
- Clean, easy to use format
- Ability to adjust/personalize data and growth charts
- Ability to share charts as PDFs
- Need to manually input data
- Lack of specialty growth charts
- Limited “open in” options
- Lack of clarity regarding data security or HIPAA compliance
The app is simple, with an easy to use interface and a wealth of growth chart data. The biggest limitation in the app will be inputting the data for each child, which will limit its usefulness on a day-to-day basis. If it could pull data from an EMR it would be incredibly useful. Additionally, it currently does not have specialty growth charts, such as the Fenton Charts for preterm babies or charts for children with Turner’s syndrome. The lack of more sharing options is also a bit frustrating. However, for users without well-functioning EMR who are still inputting anthropometric by hand, this app is a no-brainer.
- Overall Score
- User Interface
Extremely easy to use, simple and intuitive interface. Only limitation is having to manually input data.
- Multimedia Usage
The app does not use much multimedia, but uses it well, whether it’s uploading pictures for children or adjusting markers on growth charts.
Hard to beat free.
- Real World Applicability
Very useful for day-to-day primary care pediatrics, but it will be difficult for users who have legacy systems, either paper or EMR, that already contain patient anthropometric data. I doubt many users will want to manually input all their patient data.
- Available for DownloadiPhoneiPad