Rural Emergency Medicine

There's an App for that, is a short segment where I provide a brief
overview of an App and it's uses in medicine.

Heart Rate Monitor
New to the Australian iTunes store, Instant Heart Rate ($1.19) aims to provide a way of monitoring your heart rate on the go. According to the developers it's works on a similar principle to pulse oximeters in hospitals. Basically, it ascertains your heart rate through changes in density.  I tried this on a friends iPhone 3GS and I was unable to get consistently accurate results. For the most part I was hovering round 37bpm, whilst my heart rate according to the polar heart rate monitor was averaging about 54bpm. In others, it seemed to be slightly more accurate, but there was still some discrepancy. The developers do mention that it works best on the iPhone 4. Some will find this the most entertaining and useful app around, but I think I'll stick with the radial pulse when checking heart rate for now.

Prognosis Your Diagnosis
Prognosis, Your Diagnosis by Medical Joyworks, is a fun & informative app to investigate clinical cases. The app provides a range of cases from different specialities such as pulmonary, general surgery, infectious disease and much more. Each case goes through the history, examination/investigations and management. Along the way you are asked to make clinical decisions for your hypothetical patient based on the information provided. At the end your decisions throughout the case are reviewed and feedback is provided. Overall, Prognosis, Your Diagnosis is an engaging app and a useful study for medical students. Best of all it's free.

Using Slow-mo to Diagnose
Finally, there are medical apps, and then there are the people who use some standard apps to get a little more out of their iPhone. The folks over a EMCrit have used a slow motion camera app to help assess head impulse. Obviously, there is potential to use this technique in other areas of clinical practice. The video below provides a demonstration of its' usage.

Accelerate the diagnosis and monitoring of Parkinson's
Although currently only at the concept stage, a group of researchers from ULCA have been using the data from the iPhone's accelerometer to aid in the diagnosis of Parkinson's disease tremor. Click here for the full piece.

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