A variety of orthopedic, general medicine and pain medicine procedures require anesthesia. This can be performed locally, regionally or systemically. As the art and science of anesthesia and the rise of pain medicine as a separate specialty has grown, regional anesthesia use has skyrocketed. The procedure is not “simple” by any means, however, properly trained providers can help patients avoid the risks of general anesthesia. Here on iMedicalApps we previously reviewed several medical apps from the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Management (ASRA) including ASRA Coags Regional. We have also reviewed a number of injection apps including Art of Injection and MSK Injections as well as numerous procedure apps such as the excellent Procedures Consult (now only available as a web app for subscribers).

Most recently we reviewed the excellent Regional Anesthesia Assistant by Dr Guy Weinberg which actually described the process of performing regional anesthesia procedures and introduced the concept of lipid rescue in the medical app. The latest medical app to bring regional anesthesia to your smart device is called Block Buddy and comes from Western Reserve Anesthesia Education (WRAE) in OH and was designed with Build Fire.

The purpose of the Block Buddy medical app is to assist providers in performing ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia. Ultrasound guided injections is a hot topic in sports medicine as well as pain/anesthesia medicine. Point of care ultrasound skills are being widely deployed in emergency medicine as well as primary care residency training including family medicine. We have a list of the best ultrasound medical apps available which is worth checking out.

Block Buddy includes information on regional nerve blocks from the intermediate cervical plexus to the popliteal sciatic block. For each block a description of the purpose, anatomy, procedure description, ultrasound images and clinical pearls are provided. Most importantly, the medical app includes videos of real time ultrasound-guided regional injections with voiceover.

Clinical Scenario

You are an anesthesia resident rotating in your hospital’s pain clinic. Your first patient tomorrow is going to require a popliteal sciatic nerve block. What do you need for that procedure? What is the ultrasound needle guided route for this procedure? Let’s take a look at Block Buddy in action.

Video Review

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Evidence based medicine

The medical app includes numerous quality images, still animation, and recorded videos of thirteen common regional pain blocks. Block Buddy provides voiceover for each video to provide for improved learning. The medical app does not include any evidence about ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia efficacy. Block buddy was developed by a reputable medical center though no information about the specific authors is provided (information is available on their website).

What providers would benefit from this App?

CRNAs, anesthesiologists, anesthesia residents, pain management providers, OR personnel, any provider who may be required to perform ultrasound-guided regional blocks.

Block Buddy

Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.

  • Price
    • $9.99
    • Contains step by step guide for many common regional blocks and procedure pearls.
    • Uses quality images, still animation, and videos for anatomy and ultrasound guidance.
    • Provides information on upcoming courses the WRAE group is sponsoring.
    • Available for both iOS and Android.
  • Dislikes
    • No information on specific indications/contraindications for the procedures.
    • No information on the evidence for/against use of ultrasound-guidance or the specific blocks.
    • Information about the authors and the WRAE group must be accessed on their website.
    • Price may be an issue for some, but it does contain 13 quality videos and other resources.
  • Overall

    Block Buddy is an easy to use medical procedure app that includes high quality videos with voiceover for 13 common ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia blocks.  This regional anesthesia app effectively walks providers through each procedure with quality images and videos. Great resource for those just learning these procedures or experienced providers wanting to quickly review a procedure before performing it on a patient.

  • Overall Score
  • User Interface

    Simple, easy to use, excellent videos.

  • Multimedia Usage

    The app contains many quality pictures and still animations, but the selling point is really the embedded videos as well as the shear number of blocks covered (thirteen in all).

  • Price

    Reasonably priced when you consider the inclusion of the videos.

  • Real World Applicability

    A great medical app that every provider who performs ultrasound-guided regional pain blocks should certainly consider.

  • Device Used For Review

    iPhone 6S running iOS 9.2

  • Available for DownloadAndroidiPhoneiPad