REVIEW - Procedures - Lumbar Puncture by MeisterMed
Posted Oct 06 2009 10:01pm
As the iPhone matures as a smartphone platform, the quality and quantity of medical apps is slowly improving. MeisterMed is known for its medical apps on the Palm platform, mainly in iSilo format. From laboratory medicine to psychiatry to ENT, MeisterMed has been in the game for some time.
I was pleasantly surprised to find Procedures - Lumbar Puncture in the app store. As someone who routinely has to do this procedure, it piqued my interest as a learning tool for junior doctors. In general it achieves this task, but not without some caveats.
Lumbar puncture is a standalone app which cuts straight to the chase. The main screen opens up with just 2 options:
The procedure details button gives you a step-by-step instructional guide to performing a lumbar puncture, including indications, contraindications, complications, equipment and even coding. I found this section to be informative and easy to understand. A navigation bar including shortcuts to search and a place to write notes is present at the bottom of the page at all times, which is quite convenient, although I guess would be of more benefit if there were more procedures in the one program.
To top things off, a video is included, and unlike Blausen’s Human atlas, it does not require the internet to load the video. The video is narrated throughout and is useful to watch before doing your first one. I would have liked to see the anatomical landmarks drawn in, but that’s nitpicking really.
Overall, Procedures-Lumbar puncture is a step forward, and I would love to see more of this kind of app for the iPhone. There are so many procedures in Medicine often taught on-the-job and it’s great to have a reference guide to consult. It would suit rural GPs, first year registrars, interns and medical students.
Of course as with any app it’s not perfect. I passed it around to some of my emergency physician colleagues, and one common criticism was the lack of any guide to needle selection, This is pretty important given that paediatric LPs would most certainly require a different needle, and similarly body build in adults also varies significantly. I think the target audience would need this information, although I appreciate in some countries they would just use what’s in the kit.
The other issue is with the lack of illustrations in the Procedure details section. It would be nice to see some simple diagrams highlighting anatomical landmarks with dashed lines to illustrate their use in triangulation of the LP site. A picture definitely helps one memorise how to do the puncture.
All being said, there is very little to fault from a factual point of view, and we aren’t spoilt for choice on the app store for procedure guides! I give this app a 4/5. It is a must-have for any interns/junior doctors who will have to do this procedure at some point. I hope MeisterMed has other procedure guides up their sleeve - I would love to see some guides on CVC and PICC insertion.