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Oh, Internet, where would we be without you? Probably here, actually. The world has changed dramatically since the dawn of the World Wide Web (seriously, some of us probably don’t even remember what we did in the time of B.B: Before Browsing), and the PT clinic is no exception. EMR usurped paper, servers gave way to the cloud, and the desktop computer has fallen to the smaller and more powerful laptop—and in some cases, the even smaller iPad. But good things come in small packages—and the app-le doesn’t fall far from the technology tree (terrible puns; awesome resources). Thanks to apps, the iPad is a much richer tool than you may realize.
But, how do you know which apps to download? With a quick search in the App Store, you’ll find there are tons of specific apps for PTs (and OTs and SLPs). Generally, they fall into three main categories:
- Patient education
- Staff/student education/reference
- Actual clinical tools
Because there are so many apps available, we’ve decided to help narrow down the selections to only the most valuable. Here are our top 10 iPad apps by type:
1. Shoulder Decide, Knee Decide, and Spine Decide
So, technically this is three apps, but we’ll roll with it. Don’t unwittingly let your patients turn to the Internet for more information about their injury or recovery. Instead, leverage the interactive anatomical models, 3D animations and videos, and bank of exercises offered in these apps to explain injury and rehabilitation in a way patients can understand. Oh, and did we mention they’re free?
This app provides a nice way to show your patients their injury anatomy. It allows you to view and control a 3D version of the body, group muscles by their actions, and access quizzes, images, and videos—all for just $4.99.
This is one app that’s great for both patients and student PTs. At $19.99, it’s a little more costly (though it’s currently 60% off), but the clinical relevance—users can peel layers away to explore depth—makes it totally worth the price tag.
Staff/Student Education and References
Have you ever wanted access to thousands of 3D muscle, bone, ligament, bursae, nerve, and artery models (complete with definitions, pronunciations, bony landmarks, muscle attachments, innervation, and blood supply)? Well, for $19.99, it can all be yours. This app also includes muscle action animations and step-by-step presentations of common pathologies. It doesn’t skimp on quiz questions, either.
Priced at $39.99, this app is the most expensive one on our list. Here’s why: 400 clinical tests with descriptions on how to perform them, video demonstrations, diagnostic properties, and links to supporting medical references. Bonus points for ease-of-use.
This app conveniently measures a patient's range-of-motion for a particular joint. Sexy? No. But it’s very accurate and easy to use—and at $4.99, it’s less expensive than your morning run to Starbucks. (Plus, it’s Heidi Jannenga’s favorite app.)
This free tool allows you to have five timers going at once, which is handy for PTs who treat Medicare patients and for those performing timed outcome measures. And don’t worry about mixing up timers; each one can be uniquely labeled.
For $5.99, you’ll get access to audio, search, conjugation, and bookmarking functionality. It even has a specific muscle pain section. If you work with Spanish-speaking patients, this app is indispensable.
Have an ICD-10 trouble spot, training someone new, or just can’t recall that one code? This free and user-friendly app lets you search the entire current ICD-10-CM code set, explore coding guidelines, browse diagnoses, and review section and chapter instructions.
10. Dragon Dictation
Take command of your to-do list for the low price of $0. This voice recognition app allows you to dictate status updates, reminders, emails, and texts in multiple languages. (You won’t even need to train it.) Curious about using Dragon with WebPT? Check out this post.
Do you have any favorites that didn’t make this list? Spread the word in the comment section below!