Apps increase knowledge, enable intervention

Put your phone or tablet to good use with these apps for physicians.

By David Geer | Fall 2012 | Tech Notes

 

The mobile medical software market is proliferating with apps that fill various niches in the physician’s professional landscape. In this installment, Tech Notes highlights mobile apps that address domestic abuse screening and continuing medical education.

QuantiaMD, the app and network that keep physicians current

The medical community is well within the blast of the knowledge explosion.  New information bombards doctors, and it’s difficult for them to keep pace.

The QuantiaMD app accesses a learning network that engages physicians with brief, interactive presentations of four to eight minutes on topics of interest to their specialty. The physician can ask questions during a presentation and participate in discussions with other physicians.

Through QuantiaMD, physicians enjoy these presentations anywhere and anytime they have a connection on their mobile device. Physicians learn on their schedule, when they have a few free minutes. They simply log on to the QuantiaMD network where they have set up their profile. The app offers them open community discussions, private discussions and opportunities for one-on-ones with colleagues to learn critical information for their practices.

Access interactive presentations in your specialty and connect with colleagues and a faculty of 500 medical experts even with just minutes to spend.

In addition to interaction with the app’s other users, QuantiaMD has its own faculty of 500 medical experts. These experts monitor each of the special interest groups in the network and answer physicians’ questions.
The network currently serves 150,000 physicians.

QuantiaMD is compatible with iOS (Apple) devices version 4.0 and later and Android handsets running version 2.1 or later. The app is free and available for Apple devices on iTunes.

Steven Sandler, M.D., sees 80 to 90 patients per week at his cancer treatment centers in Chicago and Skokie, Ill. Sandler is involved in protocol research, though not with any academic institution, and participates in clinical trial studies to determine whether new drugs are beneficial.

Sandler must stay ahead of a broad array of medical developments. But emails, mailings, and representatives who come by his office inundate him. He also attends a lot of conferences and listens to audiotapes to keep up.
“I needed an application for medical education that would be thorough but not overwhelming, something I could apply to my practice needs,” Sandler says.

Those needs range beyond just working with cancer. The typical person with lung cancer or prostate cancer is around 70 years old, and some have also had bypass surgery and other procedures. “I need a way to deal with oncology and the patient’s other medical problems,” Sandler explains.

“QuantiaMD provides a user-friendly environment for keeping up with case presentations and lectures by notable experts,” Sandler says.

QuantiaMD presents cases and asks the physicians what they think a particular malady is. “It is fun because there is actual feedback,” says Sandler. “They give you the correct answer and after three to four cases, you see how you did and how your colleagues did.”

Using QuantiaMD, Sandler can easily select the topics he is interested in, including mental illness.

“Some patients come in with mental stress due to all the maladies they have. I can’t think of any other avenue I would use to look at this topic,” he says.

Other topics covered by QuantiaMD include HIPPA regulations and legal issues that are important to a medical practice.

“I have shared it with several colleagues,” Sandler says about the app.

“When I have called for support for minor issues, Quantia has been very helpful.”

The R3 App, a HITS-based screening instrument

Society has its failings, including domestic abuse. Physicians recognize symptoms of mistreatment but need better ways to communicate questions to those affected.

To meet such challenges, Harbor House of Central Florida, Inc., a successful domestic violence shelter and counseling program, created the R3 App, a domestic abuse screening app that uses the HITS screening tool recognized by the CDC. The app is compatible with the iPad and iPhone, enabling physicians to hand the tool to their patients for self-screening.

The app, which includes a comprehensive list of domestic abuse resources in the U.S. by their zip codes, is freely available for both Apple and Android devices.

Ademola Adewale, M.D., is an emergency medicine physician at Florida Hospital, East Orlando, and a fan of the R3 App. Adewale interacts with a diverse population of some 79,000 patients per year in the emergency department, too many of whom fall prey to their partners.

“We identified that intimate partner violence is prevalent in our population. Data suggests that it is under reported,” Adewale says. Due to the awkwardness that doctors confront when inquiring about abuse, Adewale sought a self-reporting application he could readily insinuate into treatment.

“This application makes the screening process seamless,” he says.

When the physician has evaluated someone and finds evidence of intimate partner violence, he or a nurse can load the R3 App on the iPad and hand it to the patient to fill out in private. “The application is self-explanatory, the questions are formatted in a user-friendly format, and the patient can use it with or without the physician present,” Adewale explains.

The app follows a format in which it presents the patient with weighted questions and then tallies the numbers associated with the responses. “The cumulative score helps us to classify the patient as low, medium or high risk,” says Adewale.

Adewale and his emergency department are conducting a prospective observational study to validate the use of the app in the ER.

MedPage Today app keeps CME within reach

The MedPage Today app combines award-winning medical news from the MedPage Today editorial staff, CME activities that are peer reviewed by the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, and best in class drug reference information from Thomson Reuters. Once physicians register through the app and note their profession and specialty, the app uses this data to direct them to the news that is most relevant to their interests.

Through its relationship with the University of Pennsylvania, the MedPage Today app offers real-time CME that covers breaking medical news.
Physicians completing CME activities can refer to their CME history within the app to fulfill their ongoing CME requirements for licensing. Access to historical CME activity and breaking news coverage are part of what set this app apart. The Thomson Reuters Micromedex drug data further enhance the app and increase its utility.

The free app is compatible with iOS (Apple) devices (it is optimized for the iPhone and iPad) and the Android platform (some design and functionality features work only on iOS devices).

Richard Savel, M.D., Medical Co-Director, Surgical ICU, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, N.Y., is a full-time ICU physician who makes continual use of mobile technology. “I use my iPad in a lot of ways, including for teaching and viewing X-Rays,” says Savel.

One of the gaps Savel noticed was the lack of an app to keep him updated on medical news. Savel tried other medical news apps but found that these did not meet his needs. “The app from MedPage Today is a real-time medical newspaper. They have integrated it with CME and built it up around the strengths of the iPad,” he says.

The app helps Savel meet his CME requirements for the hospital and for his academic appointments (he is also Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine and Neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine) without disrupting his day. ‘The app breaks down CMEs to a quarter of an hour so that I can do them when I have time,’ Savel says.

The app enables him to digest and integrate new data including teaching data related to the ICU and the critically ill. “I take care of patients who come in on thrombotic drugs and have untoward effects from them. The information about this on MedPage Today is easier to digest than a flood of information. I particularly like the articles about cutting-edge therapy and atrial fibrillation in the ICU,” he says.

This grouping of apps helps physicians address broad and specific knowledge areas and medical issues.

David Geer is a frequent contributor to PracticeLink Magazine’s Tech Notes department.

 

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