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iPhone App Helps Doctors Deal with Cardiac Emergencies

Daniel Low (Wiley-Blackwell)

Daniel Low (Wiley-Blackwell)

A study of an iPhone application giving emergency medical instructions suggests that the app helps doctors perform better in a simulated cardiac arrest case. The results of the study appear online in the journal Anaesthesia.

The iResus app was developed by the U.K.’s Resuscitation Council and offers guidelines on medical emergency responses for adults and children. The app is offered free of charge and runs on the iPhone and iPod Touch. Updates to the content are updated on subscribers’ devices, when the app is opened and connected to the Internet.

Some 31 doctors who had received advanced life-support training in the last four years were recruited to take part in the study in Bath, U.K. All of the participants were trained in using iResus. They then took part in a simulated cardiac arrest emergency, assisted by a nurse, and their knowledge and skills were evaluated using a validated extended cardiac arrest simulation test (CASTest) scoring system.

One group of doctors in the sample conducted the simulation using the iResus app, while other group did not. Doctors who used the iResus app scored an average of 84.5 (range: 75.5 to 92.5) out of 100 on the test, significantly higher than the 72.0 average (range: 62.0 to 87.0) in the control group. Of the 31 participants, 11 had iPhones — divided about evenly between test and control groups — and 1 had previously downloaded iResus, who was assigned to the test group.

Follow-up questionnaires indicate the participants, early-stage professionals with an average of age 27.5 years, considered the app easy to use, believed it increased their confidence in making decisions, and would be prepared to use it in clinical settings. As a group, they did not believe the app was unprofessional or indicated poor training.

Daniel Low (pictured above), an anesthetist who developed the application and lead author of the journal article, says the app “is just as useful for more experienced medical professionals, as operating in a high-stress environment can lead to sub-optimal performance in anyone.”

Read more: New iPhone App Offers HIV Drug Info

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