Not Ready for Prime Time: Handbook of High Risk Obstetrics
The Handbook of High Risk Obstetrics (v 1.65) app is meant to be an at-a-glance pocket reference to the obstetrical patient. As a practicing, board certified, general obstetrician-gynecologist, I was particularly interested in the Handbook’s self-touted new section on the Screening Ultrasound Exam and its Library of Normal Ultrasound Images.
Unfortunately, after the initial click on its elegant iPhone app icon, you are taken straight ‘Back to the Future’ (and the internet circa 1993), with plain white screens and Times font in black (except where linked sections or images are indicated in blue). The sections are listed in essentially random order and follow no discernible organization. It starts with New in this Edition; followed by Pregnancy and Coexisting Medical Conditions; Common Omissions in Prenatal Care; Fetal Medicine (with subsections on the screening ultrasound exam, library of normal ultrasound images, intrapartum electronic FHR monitoring, genetic counseling, and multiple gestation); Complications of Pregnancy; Induction of labor; Preterm Labor and Delivery; and, oddly, a separate section on Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes.
The best medical textbooks (and even surface-level medical handbooks like this one) are crisply and coherently organized by an editor (or editors), and typically have chapters written by colleagues with particular expertise or interest in the subtopic in question. As a single author product, this app obviously suffers from a lack of multiple viewpoints. Moreover, with the exception of the clearly referenced new NIH Consensus on Electronic Fetal Monitoring, the entirety of the Handbook of High Risk Obstetrics (Version 1.65) seems to have been written off the cuff, from memory. This is not a compliment. And although an app containing a collection of normal ultrasound images is a terrific idea for OB/Gyns like myself who perform office ultrasounds every day, it is woefully short of anything approaching a ‘library’, and many images were actually of very poor clinical quality (e.g., the BPD, HC, AC, FL, and spine).
Overall, I would rate this app as pre- pre- pre-Beta. If I were still a medical student (and this app were given to me free on my first core OB rotation), it might be somewhat helpful. As it stands however, the app is so primitive, the organization is so haphazard, and there is so much clinical OB information missing, I’d strongly recommend looking elsewhere.
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