App Wrap for March 2011

August 22, 2011
Pain Management, March 2011, Volume 4, Issue 2

Staff- and physician-written reviews of mobile medical apps for the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.

A group of apps for kids called Touch Pets-Dogs, -Dogs 2, -Dogs Care, -Dogs Earth, and Touch Pets -Cats are free to download. However, you have to pay real money to buy bones, dog food, cat food, and coins. The game isn’t much fun if you can’t buy these items, so it’s really a scam. Many parents have found bills for $50-$100 from the iTunes store and found out this way that their children were innocently buying these items not knowing they were spending real money! Parents who let their child use their iPhone or iPod Touch should turn off in-app purchases!

-- Yvette Crabtree, MD

Price: Free

Memory: 0.8MB

Platforms: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad

Average App Store Rating: 3.5 stars (5 ratings)

A product of the Texas Medical Associations’ Physician Oncology Education Program, this app was created specifically to allow primary care physicians quick and easy access to the currently recommended cancer screening guidelines for the top 25 cancers. Information covers risk factors, nutrition and chemoprevention stats, and available imaging tests. The only two reviews in the app store at writing gave CanSearch five stars, saying “Lots of good information here, and searching through it is very easy,” and “A great resource for health care professionals and patients alike.”

Price: Free

Memory: 1.5MB

Platforms: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad

Average App Store Rating: N/A

Use this app as a dashboard for containing, managing, and connecting to all the health and wellness apps and resources that currently exist in isolation on your device of choice. Be sure to tell your patients about it too, as they can use it to “identify and define the apps and electronic health record systems that best enhance [their] personal health & wellness.” With WellComm, users can create surveys, questionnaires, and assessments for capturing data, track and monitor health and wellness information, and securely store information from any other medical app on their device in a third party personal health record system.

Price: $1.99

Memory: 1.18MB

Platform: Android

Average Android Market Rating: 5 stars (3 ratings)

Most states now have laws on the book that forbid texting while driving, and it’s probably not a good idea to text and drive in any state. Enter this app, which can set custom or pre-made autoresponses to send to those who text you while this app is turned on, letting them know that there’s a reason why you’re not getting back to them right away—you’re driving, with a patient, in a grand rounds meeting, or on the golf course. The app takes safety one step further by reading aloud those texts you do receive while driving and making quick calls to saved contacts as desired. Reviews are all positive: “I love that this doesn’t run in the background,” “This is an excellent app for anyone on the go,” and “Awesome app works great.”

Price: Free

Memory: 0.9MB

Platforms: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad

Average App Store Rating: N/A

Funded by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, CanQuit provides a text-based resource application to help health care providers with the difficult task of approaching smoking cessation. Smoking cessation has gone from an occasional suggestion to an important healthcare intervention, as important to a patient’s health as controlling their blood pressure or cholesterol level. CanQuit offers healthcare professionals a simple and organized outline to follow in order to provide information, motivation, and reassurance to a patient who is considering smoking cessation. Sections are divided into screening questions, motivational interviewing, pharmacotherapies, and important information about special populations. Additional resources are noted in the application, but a search function for local smoking cessation resources would be a helpful update. Smoking cessation is a difficult process for a patient and an intimidating task for a healthcare provider. With CanQuit, the process at least has a beginning framework to build upon, making it a recommended addition to your electronic medical bag.

-- Dominic M.J.C. King OMS-IV

Price: $0.99

Memory: 0.5MB

Platforms: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, (Android coming soon)

Average App Store/Android Market Rating: N/A

Designed to help physicians decide whether a test will be useful by allowing on-the-fly calculations of post-test probabilities for over 100 tests from its preexisting database, this app also allows users to add sensitivity/ specificity data for their own favorite tests. By demonstrating the potential for false-positive and false negative results, this app facilitates better decisions, improves patient education and family discussions, and clarifies the risks of over- and under-testing. With an intuitive graphical representation of the calculations, Rx-Bayes makes Bayesian analysis fast and easy, so it can be done at the point of care. Its interactive design and thorough information page make it a great learning/teaching tool for clinicians who are unfamiliar with Bayesian theory.