Pediatricians are long used to using visual aids to help patients and parents understand medical conditions. Used with audiences on multiple developmental levels, those drawings can range from very rudimentary ones for children to more sophisticated ones for adolescents and parents. DrawMD Pediatrics is an easy-to-use app that gives providers the ability to use more sophisticated and customizable visual aids in helping patients and parents understand and take more ownership in their healthcare choices. A review of the DrawMD cardiology app can be found here.
The app is very simple to use. The app opens to the home screen where users can choose to start a new drawing or use one of their saved drawings. Once users register (which is free and easy to do through the app) they can download seven pre-populated images, use a blank canvas to draw an image themselves, or use a photo (which also opens the camera to take a photo).
For each pre-populated image there are “stamps” which are specific condition overlays. For example, the mouth/oral cavity image includes stamps that illustrate different types of pharyngitis. The stamps can be resized or the images annotated with lines or arrows.
The app also permits adding text to the images as well as descriptive information.
Using your own photos enables all stamps to be chosen although users cannot easily search through them.
The annotation options also include self-explanatory “undo” and “clear all” options and a “layers” option that permits users to edit different layers of images and change the background without changing the entire image.
Images can be emailed, with the image directly embedded and also (if the option is chosen) attached as a PDF.
They can also be saved locally into the app’s “saved drawing” section or into the cloud, but only through “VisualHealth Connect” and not through any other cloud-based storage such as DropBox or Box. Images can also be printed through AirPrint.
The app also includes a “community” section where users can post questions for other users and request images, and an information tab which includes a user’s guide.
The seven pre-populated images do cover 45 conditions that primary care and general pediatricians face, and cover 22 procedures as well.
However, they are a bit limiting. There are no cardiac images, for example, limiting its utility for explaining congential cardiac disease. The “Pediatric Urology” section does not include female urogenital anatomy and the Mouth/Middle Ear sections do not leave any options for sinusitis or allergic rhinitis. Of course, not every condition can be covered but it is a bit frustrating that DrawMD has these images and associated stamps in their other condition specific apps (such as DrawMD OB/GYN or DrawMD ENT). You have to save images to your cloud account and then download the app to use other DrawMD images instead of being able to download them centrally on this app.
Also, of note, unlike many other DrawMD apps the Pediatrics version is not yet sponsored by any medical device or pharmaceutical companies but may be in the future.
Lastly, the app’s avatars are all Caucasian boys without an ability to choose other avatars that may better match the gender or ethnicity of patients.
- Easy to use
- Ability to annotate images which serve as excellent visual aides
- Ability to email images
- Broad but not fully comprehensive image library and no ability to download from other DrawMD apps
- Inability to open apps in other cloud-based storage apps
- Only available for iPad, not Universal or Android based
DrawMD Pediatrics is a powerful visual aide app that pediatric providers, both inpatient and outpatient, can use to explain conditions to patients and families. Having seen a number of patients and parents have “eureka” moments after seeing images that were worth well over a thousand words of mine, I can attest to how useful the app is and strongly recommend its use.
- Overall Score
- User Interface
Very easy to use, both in terms of using the provided images and adding one’s own. The annotation is also very simple and straightforward.
- Multimedia Usage
The images and stamps are clear and well-designed.
The app is free; downloading images requires a free VisualHealth account. In the future, the app may be sponsored.
- Real World Applicability
For the 45 conditions included, the app is very useful at the point of care, but there are gaps in its coverage.
- Device Used For Review
- Available for DownloadiPad