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In contrast to a variety of good free apps for neurologists, finding a fully functional good quality app for gastroenterologists became mission near-impossible. See for yourself.
Yamada HB Of Gastroenterology
The Yamada Handbook of Gastroenterology, third edition, is advertised on the internet as “portable, practical, and entirely clinical”. I don’t question it, but I do have doubts about this app. I don’t know why it appears in the “free” category, as only the chapter about the Adult Hernias is available as a free preview. The developers ask $119.99 for their product. It doesn’t make whole lot of sense since Amazon sells a Kindle edition of the same book for $64.48 (or 86.45 Canadian dollars). No Kindle device is required. There is a free Kindle app on Google Play. Please move this app into the “paid” category where it belongs.
ASGE Clinical Guidelines
The app fetches guidelines from the website of the American Society For Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE). I did not find an option to save them.
AGA App Central
This is a great app for members of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA). It offers multiple choice questions with good explanations, a feature that other Q&A apps discussed in this article lack. Sample questions (20 out of 870) are available for non-members. The entire Q-bank is arranged by subject (e.g., “Esophageal Disorders” or “Viral Hepatitis"), and there is an option to take a mock exam. I assume that it would be composed of the mixed questions.
Another feature of the app is the “Clinical Image Challenge,” but I don’t know if it’s accessible for free. The app crashed every time I tried to use it.
Other apps for AGA members:
- Gastroenterology (Journal)
- Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Journal)
- Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Journal)
- GI and Hepatology news (Newspaper)
- AGA community (Members only private networking app)
- AGA meetings
AGA Clinical Guidelines
The app informed that it was not available in my country (Canada). Although I’m not a GI doc, it hurts my feelings. One of the membership categories includes physicians from Canada and Mexico. If they pay duties, why can’t they view darn guidelines?
TGN App (also produced by the AGA)
TGN stands for “The New Gastroenterologist” and serves to provide “insight for fellows and young GI docs”. It is absolutely free, as most fellows are broke due to school debts and exuberant fees for the board certification exams. It is a quarterly journal, and I checked out the Fall 2016 issue. The journal could be flipped through in a continuous mode, one page per screen, or viewed as individual articles. The educational component consists of two questions with very detailed explanations and a case study (“What is your diagnosis?”). The latter contains photos of CT scans and microscopic slides. The images could not be zoomed, but the diagnosis could be made even at low magnification. I was pleased to see the slides since clinicians tend to sleep through the pathology part of the interdisciplinary conferences and tumour boards. There, look at them now! The case was presented by a GI doc and a pathologist and would count as a CME credit for those who are allowed to log hours of journal reading.
The feature of this issue is a perspective on fecal transplantation, which reminded me of a very successful residency prank orchestrated by my friend. Unfortunately, it happened after my graduation, but maybe it was for the best. Other articles are devoted to job acquisition and paths to success for the employed. A useful app indeed.
The app requires registration. The registration form has a tiny font and would not allow me to select a degree. I registered on their website, but the app said NO to such cheating. I decided to hell with it, I’d go with DO instead of MD. Finally, I got in.
The app is devoted to inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). It is a video CME course, which is quite a novelty. There is a case of ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease presented by two physicians. In the process of educating, they move around a virtual clinic in order to keep the audience more alert. I went with UC as I remembered it better than Crohn’s disease.
The app asks to take a pre-assessment test consisting of four questions, all clinical but not difficult. The last question answers the third, and the rest require a general knowledge of medicine. I don’t think it matters whether you pass or fail – we came here for the education, after all. After that, the main course began. A doc from Chicago asked to review the basic info about UC and proceeded with the case. He was very detailed, and I got very impatient because there was no option to skip forward. Moreover, the good doctor asked questions periodically and showed numerous pictures and flashcards with text. Unfortunately, they could be zoomed only slightly or not at all. The patient was difficult and didn’t improve in spite of extensive treatment. The doc went on and on, but I was determine to stick with it until the end.
The good thing is that there is absolutely no need to sit and watch. You could just listen while doing minor household chores. Once you hear a pause, check the phone for a question. Case completed, proceed to the post-assessment test consisting of the same four questions. Pass. As many CME products do, the app asked to complete a long survey, and that’s where I drew the line. The font was minuscule, and no patience was left. I don’t need a CME credit, and the most interesting part was over.
I really like the idea of a video CME, especially of such good quality. Please add an option to zoom or use the larger font. Also, synchronize the registrations between the website and the app.
The app requires a steady and fast internet connection. I used WiFi but 3G or 4G should do fine as well.
Q&A apps Gastroenterology Apps
Pediatric Gastroenterology and Gastroenterology QA Review
The apps are produced by the same company, and they have an identical interface and offer 10 free questions. The entire Q bank (1000) could be purchased for 32.99$. Both apps require a transfer to the “paid” category.
Gastrointestinal USMLE S2CK QA
The app is supposed to help USMLE* takers. It has four modes which differ very little except for the demands for money. There are 1339 questions with a single answer divided into the flashcards, from 50 to 138 questions per card. It looks like at the end the developers got tired of their creation and stopped abruptly after cramming the last 138 cases into one module.
The difference between the “Learning” and the “Slideshow” mode is the automation. At least that’s what I was promised: “this (Slideshow) mode doesn’t need your intervention”. I wish. The slide would freeze for over a minute. When you press “next”, the app reminds not to touch anything and then go through several slides with a 5-10 sec interval. It doesn’t really matter as 23/50 questions have the same answer: “upgrade for just only 2.99$, and I’ll reveal myself. The “Learning” mode requires flipping through the questions manually with the exact same results.
The “Handout” mode shows all question and “give us 2.99$” one one page, and the “Random” and “Test” modes offers to test the knowledge. You are supposed to answer a question, then view the answer, then tap “I’m right” or “I’m wrong” buttons. The problem is that in order to see the answer you gotta pay 2.99$. Question 350 is the last accessible one.
The only cool feature of this app is the “Night” mode, similar to one in the modern car GPS devices.
Lastly, the actual USMLE has a multiple choice format, and there is a time limit. Please “upgrade” the app to the actual test format and move it to the “paid” section.
*USMLE = United States Medical Licensing Exam
It is a good app, without hidden charges and annoying adds. The quiz has a multiple choice format. The correct answer is highlighted in green after a booming voice announces “yes” or “no”. Unfortunately, the Q-bank contains only 30 questions.