Amongst the plethora of mobile applications, there are some essential applications for practising urologists, urologists in training and patients. 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 the field of urology in modern times. The Microsoft Office app is essential for the quick writing of clinic letters, 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 back up 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 (£3.99) 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 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 talks taking place in other rooms 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 this 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 (£36.99) has not been updated for the third edition and this text is now five 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 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 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.
Unless otherwise stated apps are free to download on iOS and Android.