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January 22, 2010

Use of Smartphones: an example of the Resuscitation Council UK's App for Advanced Life Support

Its always The Resuscitation Council UK, which provides guidelines for advanced life support in the United Kingdom for adults and childrennice to see how technology can help a budding doctor or nurse. There's lots of free tools available, often increasingly to those with smartphones. Via Twitter and other blogs I saw the coverage of apps for the iphone in Haiti,  including offers from companies such as Epocrates to give out free apps to healthcare workers following the earthquake.

I have three thoughts on this having just bought an iPhone

  1. It sounds like a very good idea
  2. Its a bit of the shame that the battery life of about 24 hours will potentially limit their use in the absence of an adequate power supply
  3. The biggest challenge facing healthcare workers out in Haiti is unlikely to be a case of not knowing what to do, and more likely to be a case of not having the right kit to do it

For those people who are unfamiliar with apps, and their use on the iPhone, lets take a look at a free iPhone application that's now available from the Resuscitation Council UK.

As a relatively new iPhone user, and owner previously of a Blackberry Curve I'm impressed at apples latest offering in terms of the simple ease of use.

Lets try out the iPhone app from the Resuscitation Council Uk, called iResus.

    • The download from the iPhone app store: just select iResus- so far so goodiphone
    • the download proceeds quickly, and does appear to be 'free' just as it says on the tin. For the purpose of this user, I haven't registered my details, but would do under normal circumstances
    • I'm prompted to download what I want. I pick the adult advanced guidelines.
    • I'm taken to the iResus home screen after the 60+ guidelines have completed their download
    • I can now freely browse guidelines using a simple menu interface, which is intuitive like most iPhone apps. It allows me to browse management, and pictorial algorithms, although does not have anything like the detail of the formal guidelines produced by the Resuscitation Council (understandably in the 100+ page A4 book)

    So the very simple iPhone interface that guides me through the algorithms, including a helpful signposting of whats going on.

    I cant help by being a little worried by the fact the iPhone seems to offer you options as if it was the real thing: i.e. real time information for bradycardia management. I have visions of junior doctors pulling out their iPhone to check the management of the next medical emergency they face.

    In conclusion overall the app is an excellent introduction by the Resuscitation Council UK into the world of iPhone apps, and hopefully they will follow suit for other handheld devices. The market for the use of these phones in routine and emergency clinical work is just emerging. Looking at other high quality free apps, perhaps 2010 will be the year of the medical app on the iPhone.

    Finally: a test for any armchair TV medics who have watched enough ER or House. What is the rhythm on the strip identified below with a patient hooked up to a defibrillator?*

    *if you do not have a medical degree then if you get this right you should  be seriously impressed with yourself!

    Rhythm strip


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