As the popularity of smartphones and tablets continues to grow, the
applications for both have also multiplied and expanded, and their usefulness
to health care providers is increasingly being recognized. Some of the existing
applications for the medical field are well suited for pedorthics and can be
especially useful for both patient education and teaching, Rick E. Sevier, BS
Ed, BOCO, CPed, owner/instructor of CFS Allied Health Education, said. Some of
the apps that he uses on his iPad, iPod and Android phone are geared to
anatomy, patient assessment and terminology.
Two of the apps that Sevier uses for anatomy are iMed Sliders and
Skeletal Anatomy 3D. Both of these apps run on either an iPhone or iPad. The
first app, iMed Sliders, allows for virtual dissection of the foot in either a
plantar or dorsal view. Using different slider bars, the foot can be dissected
one layer at a time.
“For example, one of the first sliders at the top is skin, so if I
move the slider over on skin, I remove the skin from the foot and I can see the
next layer of superficial tissue that is underneath – in this particular
case, the lateral and medial plantar fascia with all of the overlying
fat,” Sevier said. “I have my choice of several different sliders
that I can use to take away the next layer, and the next layer, and the next
layer so that I can get down to seeing muscles, bones, ligaments and
The second app, Skeletal Anatomy 3D, provides a 3-dimensional view of
“What makes this application so nifty is that it allows me to
rotate around that particular piece of skeletal anatomy. If I wanted to go take
a look at a knee, ankle, hip or shoulder, I can actually go take a look at the
skeletal anatomy, zoom into it and rotate it in 3D,” Sevier said.
Sevier noted he often uses these anatomy apps as teaching tools in the
classroom and also for patient education. An external cable can be used to
connect the device to a projector or television set so that the app can be used
in a classroom setting or at a patient’s home.
Sevier also uses several apps to aid in patient and clinical assessment.
Two apps that he finds useful for clinical assessment are FootDecide and
iOrtho+. He noted that although both of these apps were designed for other
disciplines, they can be brought “into the O&P world to use as part of
our clinical assessment.”
FootDecide, which is available for the iPad only, provides different
pathologies that relate to the foot and helps in the clinical assessment of the
foot. Sevier noted there are other Decide group apps such as SpineDecide,
ShoulderDecide and HandDecide; all of these apps are designed for physical
assessments to determine the type of pathology.
“It is not diagnostic in nature. It is assessment in nature and
meant for you to more or less triage and say maybe this patient needs a
referral elsewhere,” Sevier said.
The second app, iOrtho+, covers noninvasive clinical assessments on
different joints in the body. iOrtho+ runs on both the iPad and iPhone.
Other apps Sevier uses include one that lists ICD-9 codes, which helps
with coding for billing purposes, and a Medscape app, which allows quick access
to the thousands of documents on the Medscape site.
Terminology and documentation
Sevier also uses several terminology apps. He has one for medical
eponyms and another for Taber’s Medical Dictionary. In
addition, he occasionally uses an app for medical Spanish that helps him
communicate with Spanish-speaking patients.
He also finds his iPod useful for patient documentation during home
visits. The camera feature can be used to take photographs of patients’
Medicare and Medicaid cards or insurance cards.
“You can put those health care information cards on a table and
take a picture of them with the iPhone or the iPod, and if you want, you can
e-mail them back to your central office or leave them in the phone and download
them once you get there,” Sevier said. “That is a really good tool
for pedorthists who are out there doing home visits.”
He also uses the Microsoft Office suite programs on his PC in
conjunction with the apps that are on his iPad. For example, Sevier uses a
meeting app to conference with employees when he is out of the office. Other
apps can be used to create slide presentations or spreadsheets, and there also
is an app that can be used to create documents. All of these documents can then
be migrated to a Microsoft environment upon returning to the office setting.
Sevier noted that most of the apps he uses are free or inexpensively
priced. “I think the most I have ever paid for an app was $20 for my
skeletal and muscular apps,” he added.
Another app that Sevier has occasionally used is a level app for
assessing limb discrepancies, which is usually assessed with a laser level in
the classroom or an old-fashioned bubble level in the field.
“Basically, what you do is you load this app up and now you have a
bubble level. Your iPad becomes a bubble level and you can take your iPad, put
it on patients’ belt line as they stand up, and it will measure the
levelness of their belt line,” Sevier said. “There truly is, believe
it or not, an app for just about everything.”— Mary L. Jerrell,