Procedures are an integral part of medical practice, including primary care where a lot of patients occasionally require a medical procedure during their regular visits.
Many of these patients expect their general practitioner, family physician, or pediatrician, to be able to perform the most common procedures, especially those that could be done in an office setting.
Also, many physicians enjoy using their hands to perform different diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in Family Medicine, which include everything from minor skin interventions and ultrasound to more complex procedures, such as colposcopy or vasectomy.
Being educated about the common procedures in Family Medicine is crucial for students, residents and providers who may be required to perform the procedures in their daily practice.
Most learners still use textbooks and literature that supports even highly complex procedures. But in today's world, educational methods move more toward online learning resources, as well as mobile medical apps, that provide physicians and students with essential information in form of text, graphic, interactive content and instructional videos.
This also applies when learning about medical procedures. There are a lot of mobile apps that teach primary care providers, as well as residents and medical students about various exam techniques and procedures.
Many of these medical apps are available for free, but many require subscriptions, either institutional or paid, which can be too expensive at times.
A family practitioner from Canada named Dr. Jeremy Rezmovitz along with his colleague Ian MacPhee developed a free mobile app for family physicians called Proceducate, as a part of a pilot study by the University of Toronto, aimed to improve the teaching and learning experience for minor procedures in Family Medicine.
Being part clinical pilot study means that it requires consent from users, and that would be the first thing you should do upon starting the app. The app will require you to provide some information, but not more than you usually provide during regular registration, which means your email, profession, specialty, etc.
Once this step is done, you'd e taken to the main screen, which features Suturing 101 as the default category. Here you'd see several folders each containing instructional videos on how to improve suturing, including one-handed or two-handed techniques, instrument tie, the simple running suture and the running subcuticular suture.
If you tap on any of the folders, you may see that each contains certain number of instructional videos listed with the name and duration.
For example, two-handed techniques contain three videos, including The Basics, How and How Not, and The Surgeon's Knot.
When you open any of these, you'd see that they're not just videos, but also contain detailed didactic information on indications, equipment, complications, and so on, as well as images. The information is referenced with resources listed at the bottom of the page.
Videos are high quality and are hosted on YouTube and Vimeo. The videos are embedded, which means they will play in the app and there's no option to download them. Also, I couldn't get the landscape mode for better view on the iPhone, so I'm not sure if it's been done on purpose or it's some sort of bug, but this definitely should be addressed in future updates.
Besides suturing methods, Proceducate app also includes instructional videos explaining foundational skills and some minor procedures such as joint aspiration/injection, biopsies, cryotherapy and toenail management.
There are also gynecological procedures explaining Mirena IUD insertion, speculum examination with Pap and perineal laceration repair.
Users can also use search feature to find the procedures. It works fast and accurate that's to the auto-complete feature. However, the app is not crowded so it's possible to find what you need by browsing the app's categories.
As been said, besides high quality videos of common primary care procedures each section also contains detailed and well-referenced textual information, as well as numerous quality images and animations.
What Proceducate app is lacking is wider range of procedures covered, but hopefully this could be improved in some of the future updates. But despite the fact that only small number of procedures is covered in the app, they all have high educational value.
This is exactly what the strongest point of Proceducate app is. It follows current best practices that recommend the use of multimedia in teaching technical skills, and it does it well.
Although the Proceducate app cannot replace traditional learning approaches, such as textbooks, it could work great as a supplemental method in teaching and learning common medical procedures.
Benefit: Medical students and residents who want to learn more about medical procedures, as well as Family Medicine providers who may be required to perform one of the medical procedures described in the app