[The article below is written by Adam Bitterman, DO and simultaneously published by iMedicalApps.com]
During medical school, I was frustrated by how often crucial facts and formulas were called upon but had been forgotten, even though the acronyms had been memorized and material thoroughly learned. Paper pocket manuals were often incomplete and weighed down my lab coat and did not always have the answer I was looking for.
The resources available to students were numerous, ranging from four-inch thick textbooks to gigabytes of lecture notes. Yet, even after using these references, I still found myself checking the internet for updates to ensure the content was accurate and the most recent. The resources of yesterday were helpful, yet were lacking and needed improvement.
So, between classes, I would formulate ideas for more effective teaching methods. I was also inspired by seeing how new learning methods for medical education had been transformed into businesses covering many facets of the medical field.
I discussed my frustrations with a college roommate, who also happened to be a physician assistant. His clinical practice led him to recognize that the formula for calculating fluid resuscitation for thermal and chemical burns surprisingly is frequently forgotten or misinterpreted by even some of the best healthcare providers. Was it 9% for the front of the arm ? How much for the palm? While researching the medical literature, we learned that there was a problem – up to thirty percent of burn calculations had a discrepancy leading to inadequate resuscitation. Together, we saw an opportunity to take hold of a medical education field by providing solutions to these education and clinical problems.
Within days of our discussion, my partner read hundreds of pages of iPhone development manuals and coding samples to start making our ideas become a reality. After realizing the feasibility of application development, we started applying solutions to our medical problems by building accurate applications. Our initial efforts focused on uBurn, a product suite designed to give the users control of the burn body surface calculation. After being added to the “App Store” a little over one year ago, the LITE, unpaid version, gained the interest of over ten-thousand users in under six weeks. The increasing popularity of our application led us to understand the level of demand for burn care applications. As a result, we have continued to develop and create a broader suite of burn products for this user group. Today, in combination with the paid version, uBurn apps have gained the interest of leaders in the field of both academic medicine and research.
With the success of uBurn we were inspired to expand our medical application offerings. Our app ideas came from colleagues or where we noticed there were no products available to fill a specific medical niche. We created a pregnancy wheel, antipyretic dosing calculator for children, rabies dosing and scheduling guide, and an alcohol metabolism guide. These apps, designed to make clinical medical practice more efficient, turned into a venture that two friends only dreamed of a few years ago.
We envision medical technology in tomorrow’s clinical settings directed even more towards ensuring patient satisfaction. Unfortunately it is difficult to define “high quality medical care,” as the perception is different from each patient’s individual needs. Patients and practitioners have the same treatment goals, yet the order of importance of achievement is drastically different. At the patient level, focus remains on clinical service, wait times, courtesy, examination time, and ultimately an accurate diagnosis. Yet, as financial resources continue to stretch thinner, providers are forced to increase their workload while maintaining their accuracy and bedside manner. With this fast paced nature comes the dilemma of ensuring that each patient receives the care level that they deserve.
This paradox inspires us to attempt to merge these parallel goals into one in clinical practice and into our medical business. The advent of electronic health records is an attempt to streamline communications between treating physicians, yet it does not adequately involve the patient. We believe integrating advances in technology through various medical applications will give healthcare providers the tools to improve the relationship between doctor and patient.