LAS VEGAS—When your rapid-fire session is headlined, “There’s an App for That: Hand-Held Devices and Applications that You Should Know About,” does a real-time endorsement get any better than a laudatory tweet?
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“Great talk by @ultrasoundREL about apps! Students check out MDCalc, VisualDx, AirwayEx, GURU, 1-minute US #ACEP16 #APPS” tweeted @tony_balda, the Twitter handle for Tony Balda, a medical student at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, Texas.
The session was a smorgasbord of recommendations for applications that can make life easier for emergency physicians. But before delving into apps that provide clinical updates, practice guidance or live translation services, presenter Resa Lewiss, MD, focused on a meditation app, “Stop, Breathe & Think,” meant to slow things down.
“I really believe that ‘healthy body, healthy mind,’ ‘physician heal thyself,’” said Dr. Lewiss, director of point-of-care ultrasound in the department of emergency medicine and an associate professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “If you take care of yourself you’re going to be in an even better position to take care of your patients.”
For the fledgling technology users out there, Dr. Lewiss recommends two places to start seeking out ideas: www.lifeinthefastlane.com and www.iMedicalApps.com. Both websites are chockablock with their own sets of recommendations and provide reviews on what’s available out there.
Several of the apps that Dr. Lewiss discussed involve “just in time learning,” or the idea of becoming refreshed in real time on best practices or procedures. Others focused on training to prepare for common actions like placing a central line or intubating a patient.
“There are all these apps now that create these virtual reality experiences. Think about it as a good way to check yourself, to go through a checklist when you’re performing a procedure” she said. “And I actually believe that one day this is the way we’re going to assess our own as well as our trainees’ competence in performing some of these procedures.”
One app no emergency physician need go without is one that translates foreign languages, such as the popular Google Translate, Dr. Lewiss said. She used it recently to communicate with a woman who spoke Arabic.
With the click of a button, she asked the woman in her own language whether she had a headache.
“That immediate connection that I then had with my patient—to see her smile, to visibly see her relaxed a bit?” Dr. Lewiss said. “There’s a connection and ability for her to communicate that is just priceless. And I feel like optimizes our patient care and patient centeredness.”