Viet Tran @drvtran
Presented at the 32nd Australasian College for Emergency Medicine Annual Scientific Meeting
Welcome, I'll be your "App-physician" today. I'm hear to cure your App-besity (you know, those pages of apps that you never use) and your App-orexia (I'm looking at you mum - you can do more than just make phone calls!) Join me on this app-intervention.
Our apps are much like Mavis' armatorium - some of us have apps that we download which loosely does what we want it to, and over time accumulate them on our devices to allow them to collect digital dust and dilute our intention to use even the useful apps. App rationalisation I hear you say?
- App Rationalisation
- Apps in the wild
Principles for Effective App Use
We can break this answer into 4 themes:
- Purpose: Productive
- Be Picky
- Learning Curve
- Operator Dependant
1. Purpose: Productivity
All apps have a purpose whether its to tweet, calculate risk, check your email, the weather, your finance, the news…the list goes on. It goes on so much so that Apple® have coined the addictive term "There's An App For That". And this is true…there probably is an app for that. But it makes no mention of how purposeful that app is. There's no point having "an app for that" if it is unreliable, clunky, frustrating to navigate and apply. What we're missing is the bigger picture. Because its not the size of the app store that matters…
So what is the bigger picture? Patient safety through Productivity. Apps, smartphones, technology - the whole point of this from the start was to create new ways to remain productive. Don’t lose the bigger picture.
2. Choose Wisely
All that glitters is not gold. The path to app-besity is from over indulgence. Its far too easy to download apps. Portion Wisely!
So how do you work out if something's useful or not? There are a few guides:
3. Learning Curve
In this day and age technology doesn’t come with instruction manuals - well they do, but like product information leaflets that come with medications - not many people read them. We live in a world of trial and error when it comes to this technology, and apps are no different. So there is a learning curve, and at the far left of this curve you may think that an app is useless, but someone using the same app on the far right of the curve will find it useful. And using your paediatric calculator for the first time in a resus probably breaks the 1st principle of effective app use.
4. Operator Dependant
This principle goes hand in hand with the learning curve. Like ultrasound, fascia iliaca blocks, intubations etc, Apps are also user dependant, quite often relative to where you are on the curve. If an app does not seem productive, look at the operator…because unless you're a developer, you can't change the app.
With these principles in mind, lets take a look at apps in the wild.
Apps in the Wild
- Point of Care
- Medical Education
- Medical Productivity
POINT OF CARE
PediStat (iOS & Android) AU$4.99
Paediatric calculator. There are a few out there - i'm familiar with this one and know how and where to access what i want when i need every ounce of my cognition. The take home message for these sorts of apps are to be familiar with them - much like the drugs that you might choose to use to intubate with.
eTherapeutic Guidelines (iOS & Android) $14.99 for iOS and AU$345 for a yearly miniTG subscription
iSilo is an archaic document reader for their own proprietary format. miniTG has for many years used this format to deploy their app. This convoluted and archaic system along with the institution subscription structure prevents most institutions purchasing the 'smartphone compatible' version.
A note on institutional subscriptions
Around Australasia, particulary in the public sectors, most will give you an "enteprise" subscription to the portable equivlanet of the computer based references. Below is a list of the places to look for instructions to access these subscriptions. Note that they are controlled by your health librarians - so if you're still not sure how to find/install etc just ask your friendly librarian!
ReadCube (iOS & Android) Free
Powerful app. If you have an affiliated university log in (most Australian Universities are) you can search pubmed within your browser, download articles and file them whichever way you want. You can also annotate, highlight and add notes to articles. ReadCube also has a desktop (Windows & Mac) app to sync across to your laptop.
OneNote (iOS & Android) Free
Powerful note taking app that allows you to have different notebooks. Within each notebook are chapters and within each chapter you can have multiple titles. Syncs across all your devices and even online. Can capture typed notes, generate checklists, record voice to note and take pictures to note.