Amongst the plethora of mobile applications, there are some essential applications for practising urologists, urologists in training and allied healthcare professionals. In this month’s digital review, we highlight some essential applications.
Mobile office apps
Maintaining a virtual office is key to keeping up with the demands of practising Urology in modern times. The Microsoft Office app is essential for the quick writing of clinic letters on the go, final touches of presentations for students on Microsoft Powerpoint and checking through research spreadsheet data on the go.
The Dropbox app creates a cloud based storage system that allows you to sync files (all types), between multiple devices. After downloading the Dropbox application on your desktop, you can now edit a document on the computer, leave the house and continue editing on your commute to work… from any mobile device. Any edits you make to the document are automatically saved and will be available on any computer device as long as you remember your login. Additionally, Dropbox has the ability to retrieve versions of documents giving access to a more secure backup function. A viable alternative to the Dropbox is the Google Drive app which seamlessly integrates with a family of Google applications and is particularly useful if you use Gmail or own an Android smartphone.
The DocScanner app offers you the power of a full sized scanner in your hand. The app is able to scan in black and white, colour and to A4 or A5 sizes. It also offers the option of straight to email or dropbox scanning. A portable scanner with access to a secure private database means that you can scan and store data with minimal risk.
Often seen as the Facebook of the professional world, LinkedIn allows one to create a profile and interface with other medical professionals with similar interests globally. It also allows you to create a digital CV that can easily be shared with a single link. To those that still haven’t tried it Twitter is a very useful for keeping up to date (only if you follow urologists who are active on twitter), and an extremely useful method of keeping up with other rooms talks during a busy conference.
General Medical Apps
The NICE BNF app has undergone multiple revisions and is free for users who have an Athens account.
With the ability to search for medications by type, brand name and generic name it feels more useful than the print versions; and as it does not require an active internet connection the app proves more useful than the online version. Additionally, drug interactions are easy to find and the information on the app is updated more often than the paper editions.
Featured recently in Urology News, the Figure 1 app provides interesting case-studies, as well as real-time cases utilising international collaboration to solve cases, the downside being a lack of quality control.
Canopy Translator app is an American National Institute of Health funded application that is specifically for medical translation. Using pre-recorded audio yes/no questions it allows you to communicate with patients in pre-prepared medical sentences for history taking, examination and management. Canopy app can translate up to 15 languages. The more famous translator app which works well across a host of languages is the Google translate app but does require you to input each sentence.
A core resource for urologists, the Oxford Handbook of Urology is available as a mobile app, e-book, kindle book or in paper as a Flexicover. Unfortunately the app version has not been updated to the 3 rd Edition and this text is now 5 years out of date.
The Urological Emergencies app is similar to the Oxford Handbook, however as the name suggests its limited to only urological emergencies and offers a great guide to the diagnosis, investigation and treatments. The Urology News app provides spot tests and exam questions which are useful for quizzing trainees between surgical cases or during dedicated teaching. The Urology flashcards app is another quiz app which provides more than 1500 excellent question and answer urology flashcards.
In the context of explaining urological conditions to patients and students, an app that is useful is the drawMD Urology app. This app contains multiple urological anatomy drawings and allows dynamic editing of each diagram so that you can add stone locations, or stomas onto diagrams.
Although Mobile eLogbook (iOS and Android, annual subscription of £5.99 per year) is not a dedicated urology app, it allows surgeons to enter performed cases to an operative logbook. These are then uploaded to the main eLogbook site (www.elogbook.org) when you have an Internet connection, which is very useful as there are often too few computers available in operating theatre suites.
Mobile office apps
Microsoft Office app (Free, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry)
Dropbox (Free for first 2Gb, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry)
DocScanner (£3.99, iOS, Android, Windows)
Linkedin (Free, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry)
Twitter (Free, iOS, Android)
NICE BNF and NICE BNFC (Free with Athens login, iOS, Android, Windows)
Medscape (Free, iOS, Android)
Figure 1 (Free, iOS, Android)
Canopy Translator (Free, iOS, Android)
Google Translate (Free iOS, Android)
Oxford Handbook of Urology (£36.99, iOS, Android, Blackberry)
Urological Emergencies (Free, iOS, Android)
Urology News (Free, iOS, Android)
Urology flashcards (Free, iOS, Android)
drawMD Urology (Free, iOS)
Mobile eLogbook (Free, iOS, Android – Yearly subscription £5.99)