Many students, including medical, are better in inductive than deductive reasoning, which means that they learn better from examples. Utilizing practical examples in the learning process works best through the use of case studies.
Case studies are basically stories presenting realistic, complex, and contextually rich situations (cases) that often involve a problem, dilemma, or conflict that should be solved.
Case studies have long been used in the teaching of business, law, social sciences, and medicine, although they could be used effectively in the number of other disciplines when teachers want students to explore how the material they've learned applies to real world situations.
Cases come in many formats, from simple single questions to complex scenarios, and most require students to answer an open-ended question or develop a solution to an open-ended problem with multiple potential solutions.
In medical education, case studies are the basis of a popular pedagogy called problem-based learning (PBL). Traditional case studies are paper based and contain brief medical facts about a patient's symptoms or illness presentation.
Advent of mobile technology allowed the development of more complex and rich-narrative case studies that could be used on the go, not only by medical students, but also by seasoned physicians and other medical personnel who want to keep their knowledge fresh.
Prognosis: Your Diagnosis is a free mobile app available for the iOS and Android that works as clinical case simulation tool for physicians, medical students, nurses, and other medical staff.
It is a great tool for all healthcare providers who like to challenge their clinical knowledge casually from time to time, but the main purpose of this app is to help them make clinical decisions easier and stay sharp during their shifts.
Upon downloading, the app will ask you to provide more information about yourself, including profession and specialty, and optionally your workplace and email.
The app opens to a simple menu that features two main options, Play Cases and Progress. To access all cases you should tap on Play Cases. The list would open featuring literally hundreds of available cases that cover various specialties.
Keep in mind that individual cases need to be downloaded in order to be accessed. Each download didn't take more than couple of seconds, but you should consider using WiFi connection to avoid costs. Also, since there are hundreds of cases, the best way is to download them as you progress. Once downloaded, the cases won't require Internet connection to be accessed.
All cases include textual description of the clinical scenario/problem, with visual summary, which is an illustration of a patient in bed with some important points highlighted.
Illustrations are a bit cartoony (although not too much like in previous versions), which some may find a little off-putting. But this shouldn't bother you because all clinical cases are very well written and referenced, and that's the main purpose of this app.
The next step in the case is Investigate section that allows students and providers to perform relevant investigations depending on the clinical scenario. Users need to decide which tests should be included based on the case summary, for example CT, blood count, ultrasound, medications, etc.
In the next step called Manage, users must decide on how the clinical scenario should be managed. Each case usually provides four options that could be multiple choice answers.
After choosing management options, users should tap on Finish. They'd be prompted to confirm that they've indeed finished evaluation and decided on management. If their answer is Yes, the rating would be displayed based on how well they've done, from poor to satisfactory to excellent.
Prognosis: Your Diagnosis app then allows users to check explanations for each case, which are provided in detail, explaining the diagnosis and reasoning. Explanations are well referenced using information from multiple authority resources.
Users can check comments from other users, which are perhaps comments generated from Facebook, because the app allows you to connect your accounts.
Finally, users have option to check their progress for that particular specialty, or to check their overall progress which links them to Progress section on the home screen.
Here you can check specialties grouped in Core Specialties, including Medicine, Pediatrics, OB&Gyn, Psychiatry and Surgery, and All Specialties that list specialties from Cardiology to Urology and Vascular Surgery.
Each specialty has a circle with completion percentage. If you tap on specialty, the new screen would open showing the percentage and total number of cases (for example Medicine has 240 cases), some of them repeating in other specialties.
The cases for particular specialty are listed below the stats, so you can also download them from here, which is more convenient if you want to focus on cases from just one specialty, for example cardiology.
All case scenarios are based on real-life patients and according to the app's creators all cases have been reviewed by editorial panel of more than 130 specialist physicians spanning 30 specialties.
Each case scenario needs only a few minutes to be solved. Some of the diagnoses were obvious, so seasoned clinicians shouldn't have trouble in solving most of the cases.
The fun and interactive nature of Prognosis: Your Diagnosis app makes it a solid educational tool for medical students, and perhaps junior interns. Seasoned medical providers could use it too, but only as a casual tool for testing their medical knowledge.
Benefit: Medical students, junior interns and residents, as well as physicians and nurses may find this app useful