When podiatrist Todd Falls walks into the examining room with his iPad, he carries it for his own reference and note-taking. But patients often take an interest, and he would like to have something to show them.
"If I had some sort of anatomical slide show of the procedures we do--something maybe 30 to 45 seconds in length--I could hand that to the patient so they could see what I'm talking about without me having to walk them through it verbally," he says. "That would be a great tool."
Falls has yet to find anything that meets his needs, but medical illustration and animation companies are seeing the same opportunity.
"The iPad has really propelled interest in our Human Atlas, which is a great product to use right at the point of care and during a consultation," said Bruce Blausen, CEO of Blausen Group, which claims to offer the world's largest library of medical and scientific imagery that's widely used in the medical community. A "lite" edition of the Human Atlas, which lets users sample five of the 300 animations, is available as a free download. Versions for Android tablets and the Research In Motion PlayBook are also in the works.
Niall Johnston, VP of business development for 3D4Medical, another company that provides medical images, says medical specialists are consulting free of charge on ways of making his firm's visualizations better, just to get tools that will be better for their own use. The firm offers more than 40 apps, each focused on a different part of the body.
So far, 3D4Medical is targeting the iPhone and iPad and isn't in a hurry to reach other mobile platforms, Johnston says. "Apple has been very good to us."
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