The healthcare field is increasingly moving to digital formats. From medical records to reference materials, content is going electronic, online, and increasingly, becoming available on mobile devices. The iPad is an ideal platform for accessing these digital medical references because it is easy to carry into exams, to work with at home, and has a large screen that facilitates viewing more and more detailed information than would be accessible on a smart phone.
Companies are realizing the market for these apps, and there are dozens of them available. Here, we provide a list of the ten best iPad apps for medical professionals. We include apps for doctors, other practitioners, and students to support their tasks and to educate patients.
1. Muscle System Pro III - This app was developed at Stanford University and has become the standard reference tool for students and professionals. The app is rich in features. It shows 548 isolated muscles alone with their insertion and origin points. To support understanding, it has hundreds of movement animations and pronunciations. For any body part, the user can see a 360 degree rotation along with inferior and superior rotations when applicable. Each muscle features 10 layers of visualization and 3D mapping to bones. For collaboration, a user can draw on any image and share it over email or on social media. It is the most complete musculoskeletal reference for the iPad.
2. Upper Respiratory Virtual Lab - This free app is a 3D simulator of the upper airway. It allows users to pinch and drag to explore the visualizations at different levels, and enhances learning by allowing students to interact with the simulation in all three dimensions. The app has detailed information on 34 anatomical structures. Users can tap on target areas in the app and see photographs, illustrations, and clinical information.
3. AirStrip - Cardiology - For clinicians working with patients’ ECG data, airstrip revolutionizes the way they can study and diagnose digitally. When hospitals or ambulances have AirStrip’s technology installed, the app can reproduce the ECG in detail for the clinician to view in real time on their screen. This eliminates the need to try to diagnose on faxed or scanned ECG strips. It also speeds up diagnosis by allowing fast transmission of ECG from the field to the clinician instead of requiring them to wait to receive the strips. AirStrip shows a 10 second view of all 12 leads, and users can see differences down to below 0.5 millimeters. A patient’s ECG history is also available, so a clinician can compare the ECGs over time.
4. Mobile MIM - This app is designed for clinicians to view SPECT, PET, CT, MRI, X-ray and Ultrasound images. Clinicians can to review images, DVH, isodose curves, and contours. It can show 3D depth-shaded movies, and supports annotation and sharing. When a workstation is not available, data can be transmitted to the iPad from MIMcloud (a secure cloud-based application) or MIM 5.1+ workstation software.
5. Rx-Writer - e-Prescribing is faster, more accurate, and more convenient for patients. Rx-Writer supports this for iPad. The free version supports 250 patients, includes 30 complimentary fax pages, and free faxing for 60 days. It has various subscription prices to support more patients and faxes. It includes features to renew all of a patient’s records at once, view medication lists sorted by indication, alphabetically, or chronologically. A clinician can see all the medications a patient is taking and fax prescriptions directly from the iPad. It also includes the entire FDA database for reference.
Price: Free trial, various subscription prices.
6. drchrono EHR - This is a complete electronic health records (EHR) system, in compliance with ONC-ATCB stage 1 Meaningful Use criteria. It has features for making customizable clinical notes and building clinical forms. Clinicians can take advantage of real time speech to text, e-prescribing, and databases for allergies and drug interactions. In addition to notes for documentation, it supports iPad-based photo and video. On the administrative side, the app supports phone call logging, chart printing and viewing, and paperless medical billing. Clinical instant messaging and chat is also included.
As part of the economic stimulus package, users of this app qualify for Meaningful Use EHR incentives under the HITECH Act. This can lead to over $44,000 in tax incentives.
Price: Free base version, subscriptions available for various costs.
7. Blausen Human Atlas HD - This atlas is an app designed to allow patients to learn about their medical conditions in a high resolution environment. It includes 3D animations and 1,200 high definition still images. It also has a glossary of over 1,500 medical terms and includes information on conditions, their causes, and their treatments. For doctors, nurses, educators, students, and care givers, this is an excellent resource to educate patients about their conditions and treatments.
The app has 360 degree rotation of the human body with a whole body view in addition to visualizations of different systems, including the nervous, respiratory, and circulatory system.
8. CardioTeach for iPad - When practitioners want to illustrate cardiovascular treatments and issues to their patients, this app is designed to help them illustrate. It uses simple graphics to show normal heart function as well as rhythm, common coronary, and peripheral conditions. Practitioners can mark up anatomical illustrations by hand or by inserting cardiac devices like pacemakers. They can also annotate the images and send the marked up versions to patients over email.
9. OsiriX HD - DICOM is a digital standard for transferring and storing medical images. This award winning app is a full DICOM image viewer for iPad that supports C-STORE SCP, C-MOVE SCU, C-FIND SCU, C-GET SCU, and WADO network protocols. Users can download and manipulate all standard medical image types in their native DICOM format, including ultrasound, CT scanner, MRI, PET, etc. Secure VPN communication is supported as well.
Users can zoom and pan images, adjust contrast and intensity, and measure object sizes, including when zoomed. For large sets of images, there is a slider for browsing through the set.
10. SurgiChart - This is a surgical case-log manager for posting, planning, and sharing cases. It is secure, private, and HIPAA-compliant.
The cloud-based service provides a social networking type environment for surgeons to collaborate by annotating their surgical records and sharing them securely with colleagues. Colleagues can create and edit records during and after the surgical process, upon invitation of the surgeon. Updates can be shared immediately with anyone the surgeon gives access to the records.
The app can serve as a surgeon’s case library. Images, notes, records, and videos of each procedure are organized together and viewable. Search over cases is also supported.
Price: Free, monthly subscriptions with various prices