There’s an App for that 1.0
June 11, 2013 2 Comments
The official first day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere is ten days from now, but it already feels like the season has begun with the temperatures climbing and the sun high in the sky (that is, unless you are attending the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club, where the heavens have opened and the course is soggy).
It’s time to relax here in Columbus, Ohio: the kids are out of school, the family is often by the pool, and I have my ever present stack of journals on the desk but the smart phone is in hand. It’s just plain easier to access a lot of information these days using that device, and so it’s in the spirit of summer that I offer the readership the next couple of blog posts on some of the sports medicine apps I rely on.
I am very hopeful that I will hear from many of you about your favorite apps. I am sharing ones that almost universally some fellow sports medicine clinician has passed on to me, and I hope to have a robust discussion about what apps are out there, either here on the comment pages of the blog, or over at twitter @cjsmonline. Selfishly, I’m hoping to hear from you so I can learn about some new app I can make use of in my professional life. If you’ve got a good one let me know, and I’ll try to work it in the next blog post!
Before I start, may I make this disclaimer: CJSM does not specifically endorse any product, and I, as author of this blog, am responsible for any comments I make about these products. Furthermore, unlike Ashton Kutcher and Miley Cyrus I receive no ‘kickbacks’ for making any of these app reviews, and I only am commenting on ones that you can download freely. Finally, I offer the following list in a non-comprehensive fashion: these are simply the apps that have made it to my smart phone, and which I use when I am seeing my patients or doing my teaching and research.
Let me start by telling you about “CoachSmart,” an app from Vanderbilt University Medical Center that I have already used a few times this summer. This app reports on current, local weather conditions, including giving users current temperature, humidity, heat index and lightning strike information. The app can send alerts to your phone if there are nearby lightning strikes, and provides other resources reminding users of heat index guidelines. It’s not quite like having a wet bulb globe thermometer, but then again, that device can’t let me know when I need to call off a practice because of a nearby thunderstorm. I find this app to be very useful especially during Ohio spring, summer, and early fall, when the risk for both exertional heat illness and lightning strikes can be rather high.
My colleagues and I have just finished a round of doing multiple Pre-participation examinations (PPEs) on area high school student athletes: May is one of the busier times in our clinic, as many of our days this month have ended at 9:30 p.m. in a local school locker room or class room having done hundreds of PPEs after rushing over from our busy ‘day clinic,’ with some pizza, cookies and soda as our reward. For all of you out there who have to do many PPEs on pediatric and adolescent athletes, I would commend to you the “PediaBP” app. Hypertension is the most common cardiovascular condition seen in athletes, and as you would know if you have to do lots of these PPEs, elevated blood pressure readings are the most common cause for holding clearance for pediatric sports participation, at least here in the United States. Multiple times on these PPE evenings I have to recheck an elevated reading; and ‘back in the day’ I would have to get out my blue or pink nomogram, and use a straight edge to line up my patient’s age, height, and systolic or diastolic reading to come up with the conclusion that they had Stage I or Stage II hypertension. No more!!! I call up my trusty app, plug the relevant numbers in, and voila: I have my answer. PediaBP: one of the few things I love about those busy nights.
And so with that, I will pause: no, not the cool waters of the pool (yet!), but a meeting to discuss patient outcome measures calls me away. I hope to hear from you about the clinical sports medicine apps you use. I have several more apps on my own smart phone I want to mention (including the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine app), so stay posted!