As technology becomes more accessible to the general public, one emergency physician is seizing the opportunity to turn his hobby into practical tools for emergency medicine.
Explore This IssueACEP News: Vol 29 – No 05 – May 2010
“I have a vision for using handheld technologies to streamline and enhance quality emergency medicine,” said Dr. Harvey Castro, a practicing emergency physician in Texas. “With the iPhone application technology, I can create tools that will help other physicians provide more customized and compassionate medical care.”
As wireless smart phones become more prevalent in the emergency department, Dr. Castro is just one of many emergency physicians who are creating iPhone apps to offer additional resources to their colleagues.
While trying to self-publish books he had written during medical school, Dr. Castro became interested in developing iPhone applications and realized the need to pair this technology with the needs of practicing physicians. He founded the Deep Pocket Series, which to date has developed 20 applications.
Some of those of interest to emergency physicians include:
- Drug Seeker: allows physicians to keep a personal list of patients that might be abusing the system. While some states keep databases on patients suspected of abusing drugs, this application allows physicians to keep a password-protected personal list.
- Sad Scale and Stress Index: helps patients screen for depression, allowing them to track, plot, and e-mail scores to their physician. Stress index helps patients calculate stress levels.
- 1st Follow Up: assists physicians with ED patient follow-up by keeping records of patients and sending text message reminders. It is particularly helpful in following up with patients after extended time off.
There are also apps about IV medications, triage, and even to help physicians write better. The Deep Pocket Series of iPhone apps is available on iTunes or through www.deeppocketseries.com.
Helping the Public Help Each Other
Researchers and educators in emergency medicine at the Penn State University College of Medicine developed the AED Locator application to improve public access to defibrillators.
The application allows community members using the camera function of the iPhone or iPod Touch to geo-tag locations and photos of community automated external defibrillators. Once the data are uploaded and checked for errors, the ability to determine AED locations will give immediate situational awareness of defibrillators that could be used in an emergency.
Finally, the application provides instant information on how to perform CPR and how to use an AED for victims of sudden cardiac arrest or out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. These short video demonstrations are compatible with recommendations from the major international resuscitation organizations, including the American Heart Association and the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR).