In this edition of Tech Notes, we’ll cover three useful medical apps for daily practice and helping patients understand their care: two for physicians, and one to share with your patients.
Medical app #1: OrthoFlow (fracture management)
OrthoFlow is almost like having an orthopedic surgeon in your pocket. It’s especially helpful in primary care, urgent care and emergency room settings, where a lot of basic fracture management occurs.
OrthoFlow’s introductory screen shows a full human skeleton. Simply tap until you localize the affected bone. Once you’re done with this quick process, the app asks questions about displacement, neurovascular function and more. Then it provides specific recommendations, such as which type of splint to use and what key details to discuss with your orthopedic surgeon.
Key ways to use this app. If you are a primary care, urgent care or emergency medicine provider and your patient’s X-rays show a fracture, this app will help you determine fracture management. If you are an orthopedic surgeon, the app’s appendix will provide you with detailed information on necessary surgeries and items to discuss in morning fracture rounds.
Medical app #2: Step-by-Step Febrile Infant
Step-by-Step Febrile Infant is yet another helpful app from Dr. Joshua Steinberg. Steinberg has created more than 15 medical apps, and this one is a great example of turning validated research into an easy-to-use app.
The app is based on the Step-by-Step Approach, a clinical evaluation protocol that helps physicians decide on care for febrile infants.
A validation of the Step-by-Step Approach was published in Pediatrics in July 2016. The app not only recreates the study’s findings and suggestions but also offers several sections that explain the study further.
A word of caution: Since the Step-by-Step Approach is a deviation from traditional practice and management of a febrile infant, make sure you understand your local practice and standard of care before using the app.
Key ways to use this app. If you are an emergency physician or pediatrician who cares for febrile infants, this app can help you understand the validated Step-by-Step Approach. If the Step-by-Step Approach has become the standard of care in your area, this app can help suggest management of care.
Medical app #3: Making healthy choices
When patients come in with very specific expectations for care, it can be difficult to convince them that a particular test or a round of antibiotics is unnecessary. That’s where the Making Healthy Choices app comes in.
In the app, patients can drill down to specific procedures, tests and medicines to learn more about the indications for each of these. This helps them understand why you are—or are not—recommending a certain course of action.
One of my favorite features is the “Questions to Ask” section, which gives patients important questions to ask when a physician recommends a procedure.
Key ways to use this app. If a patient or a family member doesn’t understand your recommendations, encourage him or her to download the app and read about a particular procedure, test or medicine.
Iltifat Husain, M.D., is the editor in chief and founder of iMedicalApps, the leading physician publication on digital medicine. He is also an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.