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REVIEW: Ortho Traumapedia iPhone App

April 11, 2011

NB: I received a free copy of this software for the purposes of review

Software: Ortho Traumapedia (website)
Manufacturer: DMI Technologies, Inc.
Cost: 9.99$ USD            Availability: iTunes Store
Connectivity: no subscription/Internet required once installed
Best for: Residents, Med Students on Ortho, GPs who do ER/Urgent Care


I was looking for a resource to help me with the occasional shift in emergency. I don’t do a lot of casting and management of orthopedic traumas, but knowing that locum positions may require this, I figured I’d better see what was out there, instead of sending people home with ill-formed casts that I’d have to cut off the next day or forgetting to caution them about compartment syndrome. Nothing worse than an absentee orthopedic surgeon shaking his head at some poor effort on a GPs part – everyone knows it should be the other way around!

Organization: The Ortho Traumapedia app is straightforward, organized into chapters based on fractures (bone) and dislocation (joint). Each entry has more detail under the headings of Facts, Imaging, Classification, and Treatment. The Basic Principles bit was a nice addition, helping me to refresh my fracture healing knowledge and some basic bone vocabulary.

The Good:While the Fact sections can be a bit superfluous, each contains some important gems about patient presentation and the anatomy of the area. The Classification section was a bit over-my-head, although it might be useful when on the phone with the Orthopedic surgeon or radiologist, and if you are a regular ER doctor this stuff might be old-hat for you.

I liked that there were labelled x-ray images of normal bones/joints under Imaging, but there were no radiographic imaging examples of pathology. The diagrams in the Classification section helped somewhat in this regard but it is not intuitive to look there.

The Treatment section helped me differentiate between what could be conservatively vs. surgically managed, and how long things needed to be casted for – a detail that seems lacking in many of the reference books that pile up by the radiology computer in ER. I really liked that Common Complications for each injury were listed at the end of the Treatment suggestions; these are absolutely vital in helping me give good care, and I kind of wish they were at the TOP of the Treatment section so as to not be missed.

The Bad: Like any app, of course it cannot comprehensively cover Emergency Orthopedics within its 11.7MB. Some of the language was actually too advanced for me – I do not need to know what a “Buford complex” is, for example, when trying to figure out how to best treat a shoulder dislocation. And yet, some important things were lacking. The dislocation chapters, for example, failed to include mention of prosthetic joints, even though the majority of hip-dislocations I’ve seen are post-total hip arthroplasty.

Maybe I’m harping on the visual stuff, but it was difficult to ‘picture’ the reduction and casting techniques as there were no photos, diagrams, or videos to explain. This management was the main thing I wanted from the Treatment section and clarity – words are just not as helpful as pictures – was lacking.

The Bottom Line: The Ortho Traumapedia is a pretty comprehensive quick-reference, living up the encyclopedic name. It doesn’t focus on treatment as much as I had hoped, so I think I’ll still need a decent Ortho book to tell me how to reduce and cast less common injuries. That said, I’ll be pulling up it’s normal images to compare to my patient’s xrays, and giving it a glance with each Ortho case I encounter to see if this App has anything to add. It might not be the right fit for me, but maybe it’s perfect for you!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Vactor permalink
    June 7, 2011 5:19 pm

    is it compatible with the ipad?

    • June 7, 2011 8:30 pm

      I can’t see any indication either way… in my list of Apps, it is filed in the iPhone/iPod section, not the iPad/iPhone section. It might work but it definitely isn’t optimized for iPad.

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