As we have discussed in previous Ortho Apps columns, the iPad is quickly becoming the "hot platform" for interactive and educational apps. This recognition has resulted in some orthopedic publishers creating professional and refined iPad apps to simplify reading away from a computer.
In this month’s column, we will focus on the newest apps which include JBJS Image Quiz, Bone and Joint, and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) eBooks.
JBJS Image Quiz
The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery American recently released JBJS Image Quiz for both iPad and iPhone platforms. Available through the iTunes store, the app provides access to the journal’s bimonthly "Image Quizzes" that appear in the print edition. The app is well-designed and easy to navigate. All cases are presented in thumbnail format and, as of writing, the current version includes 54 cases. Each case includes three sections: question, answer and discussion.
The question section includes a detailed case history as well as a number of relevant images that load quickly and clearly on the iPad. The "quiz" appears to the left of the screen with a single question and multiple choice options. Interestingly, the user has the option of choosing "how others chose" to see the answers selected by other quiz takers. This can be done either before or after making your own selection. Once an answer is submitted, the user automatically advances to the "answer" section if correct, and is presented with a brief explanation. Selecting "learn more in the discussion" provides a more thorough explanation of the disease process and relevant clinical pearls. Overall, the app is clear and runs smoothly on the device. At a price of $0.99, the app is somewhat of an enigma. To those who already subscribe to the journal, it seems odd that the journal would charge for access to these cases. However, for those who do not subscribe, $0.99 for unlimited clinical cases and explanations is a phenomenal value.
Orrin I. Franko
Bone and Joint
The British Editorial Society of Bone and Joint Surgery has also leapt into the mobile world with Bone and Joint, an iPad and iPhone app for viewing their collection of publications: The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British, Bone & Joint Research, and Bone & Joint360. The app is available for free; however, the full text version requires either a personal subscription or institutional access.
We tested the app using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) certificate for institutional access and were impressed that there were no problems whatsoever. The reading pane includes a sidebar for browsing the current or previous issue organized by table of contents. When an article is selected, the user can either view "abstract" or "full text." The full-text version appears in a condensed format, with tables and figures accessible via direct links. In addition, all references can be directly tapped to link directly to the abstract. The user can also choose to download a PDF, which opens the document with options for full-screen viewing as well as sharing.
We found the share feature to be surprisingly functional: the app generates an email that attaches the full-text PDF article. Other features contained within the app include the ability to view only images and figures, select articles as favorites, full-text search capabilities and history browsing. All three journals are viewed in the same format, however, users only have access to journals that are specifically included in their personal or institutional access. Overall, we were pleased with the smooth integration of multiple journals and institutional access. The ability to directly attach PDF articles to emails is a useful feature.
Lastly, the AAOS has updated their new eBookstore to include an iPad app, called AAOS eBooks, which provides mobile access to titles purchased from their web-based store. As of writing, the store includes eight popular titles, but is expected to increase to more than 30 titles within the next few months. Unfortunately, purchases cannot be made directly through the app, but rather must be paid for on the website. In addition, although the app asks users to log in via their AAOS usernames and passwords, this is an error and rather users must register at the AAOS eBookstore website to gain login information.
After logging in, users can view the books they have purchased and download them selectively, ranging in size from about 10 Mb to 80 Mb. Once downloaded, the text viewer has typical options, including the ability to change the font and change text size, adjust brightness, highlight text, make notes and place bookmarks. The annotation functions are primitive, at best, and even the instructions for highlighting require four separate steps. The books themselves are of high quality, text is crisp, and images are clear, however, the user cannot increase the image size, which often prevents full appreciation of many of the detailed illustrations. Because books are downloaded to the device, they are accessible even without Internet access, which is a valuable feature.
Overall, we are pleased to see the Academy’s bookstore shifting towards a digital model by offering free digital versions of purchased titles. However, the app is still primitive in its feature set and title selection. In addition, some books, such as OKU 10, already ship with a CD that includes a digital PDF version of the book, which is much easier to read and annotate using any of the popular PDF readers for mobile devices. Nevertheless, we commend the AAOS for recognizing a shift in the format of educational materials and encourage readers who have purchased AAOS bookstore titles to download AAOS eBooks for an enhanced digital reading experience.
For more information:
- Matthew DiPaola, MD, is an assistant professor and shoulder and elbow specialist in the Department of Orthopedics at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. He is a writer for iMedical Apps and co-founder of Touch Consult, a developer of team-based medical software to improve signout. He can be reached at email@example.com.
- Orrin I. Franko, MD, is a PGY4 orthopedic resident at UC San Diego. He has an interest in promoting mobile technology within orthopedic surgery and founded the website www.TopOrthoApps.com to help surgeons and trainees find the most relevant orthopedic apps for their mobile devices. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Disclosures: DiPaola and Franko have no relevant financial disclosures.