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Surg Neurol Int. 2014 Jul 24;5:113. doi: 10.4103/2152-7806.137534. eCollection 2014.

Smartphone use in neurosurgery? APP-solutely!

Author information

1
UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California, USA.
2
Department of Neurosurgery, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 8700 Beverly Boulevard, West Hollywood, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

A number of smartphone medical apps have recently emerged that may be helpful for the neurosurgical patient, practitioner, and trainee. This study aims to review the current neurosurgery-focused apps available for the iPhone, iPad, and Android platforms as of December 2013.

METHODS:

Two of the most popular smartphone app stores (Apple Store and Android Google Play Store) were surveyed for neurosurgery-focused apps in December 2013. Search results were categorized based on their description page. Data were collected on price, rating, app release date, target audience, and medical professional involvement in app design. A review of the top apps in each category was performed.

RESULTS:

The search resulted in 111 unique apps, divided into these 7 categories: 16 (14%) clinical tools, 17 (15%) conference adjunct, 27 (24%) education, 18 (16%) literature, 15 (14%) marketing, 10 (9%) patient information, and 8 (7%) reference. The average cost of paid apps was $23.06 (range: $0.99-89.99). Out of the 111 apps, 71 (64%) were free, 48 (43%) had reviews, and 14 (13%) had more than 10 reviews. Seventy-three (66%) apps showed evidence of medical professional involvement. The number of apps being released every year has been increasing since 2009.

CONCLUSIONS:

There are a number of neurosurgery-themed apps available to all audiences. There was a lack of patient information apps for nonspinal procedures. Most apps did not have enough reviews to evaluate their quality. There was also a lack of oversight to validate the accuracy of medical information provided in these apps.

KEYWORDS:

Applications; apps; iPhone; mobile; neurosurgery; smartphone

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