Cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), especially the three most notable - chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis - increased significantly during the last couple of years, according to the data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These diseases continue to affect mostly young people, both women, and men.
Healthcare providers are on the frontline, playing an important role in preventing and treating sexually transmitted diseases. For years, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is trying to help and guide healthcare providers. They have been releasing their STD Treatment Guidelines, which provide recommendations for treating persons who have or are at risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
A couple of years ago, CDC also made the STD Tx Guide mobile app based on these guidelines, which serves as a quick reference guide for all healthcare professionals. The app helps them identify and treat sexually transmitted diseases, by allowing quick access to recommended treatment regimens, the list of common terms and abbreviations, and using other useful features. The app is regularly updated and it's based on current CDC guidelines from 2015.
When you start the app, you'll be greeted with a pop-up message asking you to allow the app to send push notifications to you. This is one of the app's new features that were enabled by this year's update, helping users stay updated regarding changes in treatment recommendations.
After you agreed to End User Agreement, you'll be taken to the home screen, which by default lists all conditions provided in this app, from sexual assault to genital warts. You'll notice that the app's interface is simply designed with mostly textual based content.
The list of conditions is the easiest (and the only) way to browse the app's content. Tapping on each condition opens a new screen for the particular condition. In most cases the summary of treatment options is displayed first, providing recommended regimen, or alternative regimen for some conditions (bacterial vaginosis, for example).
There's also More Info tab, which provides recommendations on physical examination, diagnostic considerations, and treatment for certain conditions.
Some of the conditions (Chlamydia) provide information for different age subgroups (from neonates to adults), with examination pointers and treatment recommendations that, of course, vary depending on the patient's age. Other conditions, such as Gonorrhea, besides recommendations for different age groups, also provide guidelines for different body parts (affected by the condition).
It should be noted that the navigation through this list is quite clumsy. Once you tap on the condition or its subpage, there's no title indicating where exactly you are in the app. Also, once you tap on the Back button, you won't be taken back to the previous screen, yet to the list of conditions. This is really annoying because you have to tap on and on in order to get what you want, just to be taken back at the starting point. Some conditions, such as syphilis, provide information for different stages (primary, secondary, tertiary, etc.) or different symptoms, so if you want to check recommendations for each, being returned to the home screen every time you tap on Back, could get you frustrated really fast.
Including Search option for easier navigation would be really helpful, but for now, users have to use repetitive taps in order to get the information they want.
The upside is that More Info section for each condition is well referenced, although there are no links to the source materials.
Besides the list of common STD conditions, medical providers can also check the list of common terms and abbreviations, from AIDS to WSW. This is basically just a list, which doesn't provide much additional info.
The recent STD Tx app update also included Full STD Tx Guidelines, which can be accessed either as HTML or PDF document in your phone's browser. It would be better if the guidelines are embedded in the app, but given the document size, just linking it is fine.
The app, however, embeds other great PDF named 'Taking a Sexual History', which provides the guidelines for healthcare professionals on interviewing sexually assaulted patients. It's well-written document, that looks good even on smaller screens.
Tapping on More tab reveals couple more options. Besides About Us and EULA sections, there is an option for users to email the app support or to share STD TX Guide app with their friends or colleagues, using a text, email or social networks.
One of the things that could be improved is multimedia. Including the photos for particular diseases and symptoms would be more than helpful.
Despite the trouble with navigation, and some features needing an update, STD Tx Guide app is a must have a resource for all healthcare providers who treat and educate patients about STDs.
Benefit: Healthcare providers, especially those in primary care, as well as medical students would benefit from this app, which guides them on how to treat STDs, as well as to educate patients about the prevention of these diseases.