Learning a new procedure can be very challenging for the novice learner. First, societal expectations on procedure performance are geared to perfect performance, by experts not learners. Second, the current ACGME Duty Hours has greatly condensed the learner experience. Third, there is a natural steep learning curve for most procedures–especially the most technical ones such as central line insertion. Finally, there are only “so many” procedures to go around for learners to practice. All of this has made teaching technical skills a skill itself. Because of this, there has been increasing interest in the use of simulation to help teach/learn procedures. The mantra, “See One, Do One, Teach One”, has been replaced by “See One, Do One (or Many on a Simulator), Teach One”.

Here on iMedicalApps we have previously reviewed a number of procedures apps including Real World Procedures, the drawMD series of medical apps including drawMD Ob/GYN, Procedures Hospital Collection and Procedures Consult.

One of the latest entries doesn’t just try to show you how to do a procedure via text and/or video, Otoscope Simulator, turns your iPhone into a simulated otoscope. By combining aspects of “hands-on simulation” and “gamification”, the medical app challenges you to hold the iPhone like an otoscope and correctly identify common ear problems seen on otoscopy. Previously we reviewed and praised OtoSim Companion as a medical app that teaches the basics of otoscopy. OtoSim Companion is ideal for those who own the actual physical OtoSim simulator. Otoscope Simulator is a teaching medical app and simulator in one. What it lacks in detail and comprehensiveness, the medical app makes up in practicality and price.

Video Review

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Evidence based medicine

Otoscope Simulator provides an adequate number of cases of common pathology seen in primary care.  The medical app gives no references for the pictures included and has only a limited number of cases. Would benefit from more cases as well as specific pediatric vs. adult cases.

Who would benefit from Otoscope Simulator?

Students, nurses, residents, mid-levels, junior faculty in any specialty who performs otoscopy.

Otoscope Simulator

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
    • Free
    • Simple to follow directions and realistic interface.
    • Interface does an admirable job simulating a “real” otoscope.
    • Good, basic cases covering common conditions seen in primary care.
  • Dislikes
    • Small number of cases will limit repeat use.
    • Would benefit from different pictures for the same case to increase variety.
    • No information about developers or feedback mechanism.
    • Not available for Android at this time.
  • Overall

    Otoscope Simulator is a surprisingly fun and engaging medical app for those looking to improve their otoscopic skills. The medical app covers basic pathology seen in primary care and gives a pretty close approximation to the “real thing” by using you phone as an otoscope. The medical app is limited by the number of cases included which may not necessitate much repeat use.

  • Overall Score
  • User Interface

    A great interface with easy to follow directions and a nice selection of common ear pathology for evaluation by the user. Could be even better with more cases.

  • Multimedia Usage

    I give this 5 app stars not because the app links to other sites/materials, but for the novel “simulation” aspect of the app. It really does “feel” like you are looking into someone’s ear.

  • Price

    App is free.

  • Real World Applicability

    A fun and easy to use app for teaching the basics of otoscopy for student, residents and mid-level providers–and a good review for faculty in primary care.

  • Device Used For Review

    iPhone 6S running iOS 9.3.1

  • Available for DownloadiPhoneiPad