AuntMinnie.com presents the next article in an ongoing series highlighting notable mobile apps in radiology. In this installment, we take a look at CTisus iLecture Series: The HD Edition, an iOS app that offers hundreds of educational lectures on a variety of CT topics.
We chatted recently with developer Dr. Elliot Fishman of Johns Hopkins University to get the story behind this popular app, which was a finalist in the Best Radiology Mobile App category in the 2014 Minnies awards.
AuntMinnie: What inspired you to create this app? What problem does the app solve or help handle?
Fishman: The goal was to create an application where we could place our CT lecture series in a format that was easy for users to access and use. The application has more than 300 individual lectures on a series of topics that are the focus of mainstream body CT imaging today.
Did you develop the app yourself, or did you work with a developer? If you developed it yourself, how did you do it?
The application was developed in my lab at Hopkins and is the work of radiologists, a computer scientist, and a medical illustrator/multimedia specialist. The application is built on our experience of creating weekly lectures for the website CTisus.com. The app is updated every six months with an additional 25 to 30 lectures. We take great pride in developing and producing the apps internally.
Who is the target audience, and how is the app most often used?
The target audience is practicing radiologists, but the app is also used by radiology fellows, radiology residents, and radiologic technologists. Many people tell us they watch the app when they exercise or at night when they get some quiet time. Others report watching it on planes, trains, and buses!
What are the app's most important features?
The app provides lectures that are practical and based in great part on the lectures we give at our Hopkins CME CT courses. They are aimed at providing practical information that can be used in daily clinical practice. The lectures are typically 15 to 20 minutes long, which is the length people like on mobile devices or even desktop computers. Some topics are hourlong lectures, and these are divided into three parts.
The app is easy to use and new material is highlighted in each new version. I believe the most important feature of the app is the quality of the lectures. In addition to myself, we have amazing contributors including Karen Horton, Pam Johnson, Siva Raman, and Elizabeth Weihe.
How many users do you currently have for the app?
We have more than 25,000 downloads based on data provided by the Apple developer site. The majority of downloads are for the iPad. We have a version that also runs on the iPhone that is especially nice on the iPhone 6 Plus.
What are your future plans for the app? Do you have any new features or content in the works? Do you plan to develop a version for Android?
We continue to build out the app with new lecture topics as well as updating some of the lectures that are more than three years old. We may at some point add CME credit to the site and look forward to a bit more interactivity with our website, especially for linking lectures and appropriate teaching files. We are also looking at how our various apps can link under some new umbrella.
We could easily come out with an Android app and have [received] requests for such an app, but some of my friends in Cupertino would not be happy. So unless someone "makes us an offer we can't refuse," we will be Apple-based only.
Have you developed any other radiology-oriented apps, or do you have any in the works?
We currently have five other apps in the App Store and have three more in progress, as well as our usual updates of our six apps. The new apps will include one on coronary CT angiography, one on checklists for pancreas evaluation, and one on liver evaluation. We will continue to develop new apps that we feel can help move the quality in medical imaging.
Our other apps range from a quiz with case discussion (CTisus iQuiz: The HD Edition) and pearls (CTisus iPearls) to contrast protocols (CT Contrast Protocols: The HD Edition) and anatomy/pathology of the foot and ankle (CTisus: CT of the Foot) and hand and wrist (CTisus: CT of the Hand and Wrist).
CTisus iLecture Series: The HD Edition can be downloaded for free from the iTunes App Store.