New app helping med students diagnose quickly in ER
Thursday, October 09, 2014
There is a new app that is making emergency medicine a lot easier for residents and interns on the floor. The Basics of Emergency Medicine app by the Emergency Medicine Residents' Association is currently only available on iPhones, but it is already proving to be an invaluable tool to emergency medicine interns and residents across the country.
The Basics of EM app is meant to give residents and interns access to a quick, easy clinical guide to dealing with up to 20 of the most common complaints seen in the emergency room. Young medical students who are using it are already finding it to be their "go-to" tool for nearly everything they do at work. It shows different complaints broken down into acuity, and the app allows medical students to get a good idea of what is going on with a patient before even going into their room.
For example, if a medical student wanted to perform an ultrasound on a patient, he or she could look at the app's ultrasound section to get a quick refresher course in how and why to do the procedure. This instructional manual includes images and videos to make choosing the right ultrasound procedure and getting it done correctly a snap.
The user interface is incredible. The main screen shows all 20 of the top complaints of ER visitors, so students can dive right in to the particulars of that complaint immediately. A phone icon at the bottom allows access to a screen where consult numbers can be stored by department. There is also an information icon that provides access to a medical calculator, as well as images, instructions and videos for a variety of procedures related to each of the 20 main complaints included in the app.
The Basics of EM app even provides an algorithm to follow, which is based on the discoveries made in the clinical and physical exams of each patient. This will help medical students determine the best course of care for the patient after all the needed tests are performed. Results entered into the app vary by person, so the app provides a truly personalized suggestion of treatment for each individual patient.
Someone who comes into the ER with stomach pain, for example, would be an ideal candidate for use with this app. The medical student would look at the stomach pain section of the app, go to the differential table and look at possible dangerous causes of stomach pain. This would be done before examining the possibility of nondangerous causes, in order to provide prompt treatment for a serious issue, if necessary.
The differential table will tell different diagnostics that could be performed based on the presenting symptoms. Once the patient's medical history and the results of the physical and clinical exams are entered, the app will provide even more information regarding questions to ask the patient and additional tests to conduct in order to rule out certain things and get a definite diagnosis (be it a dangerous diagnosis or a nondangerous one).
The app provides a basic idea of different avenues of exploration that can be used. It is extremely helpful for medical students in learning as they go and in improving their accuracy and information retention in an ER setting. This app is perfect for medical students of any level who are allowed to work with patients, and is a useful tool for PAs and nurses, too.
Once it becomes available on Android — which has not been announced yet — it will likely be in the pockets of most students, assistants and nurses on the nation's ER floors.
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