The Anatomy of a Medical App

The CEO of eMedia Interactive, a medical education app publisher best known for Pocket Body, discusses user-centered design, content models, and reaching a wide audience.

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Medgadget has been featuring a large number of medical apps and their developers over the last year -- apps that are slowly changing the delivery and quality of health care in their own way. One such company is eMedia Interactive, a medical education app publisher based in Galway in the West of Ireland, with a strong focus on user-centered design. eMedia's flagship product, Pocket Body, is a detailed 3-D anatomy learning app, which we have been following at Medgadget since its release in 2010.

We visited eMedia's headquarters earlier this month to catch up with CEO Mark Campbell and members of their interaction design team to find out a little bit more about what's involved in producing their intuitive and content rich anatomy apps. As a holiday season/New Year token of goodwill, and to coincide with our feature, Mark and his team are offering a 50 percent discount for the Pocket Body for the iPad (normally $29.99) and iPhone (normally $19.99) until early January on the iTunes store.

Where did the idea for Pocket Body come from?

The idea for Pocket Body came about while getting to know, understand, and observe how medical students, health care professionals, and the general public learn, communicate, and visualize the complexities of the human body.

Our team's background stems from multimedia design and development for university schools of medicine, private medical companies, and hospitals. With the emergence of the iOS, it was a nice next step for us to migrate from creating detailed 3-D animations and Web-based medical eLearning courseware for our health care clients to publishing our own unique suite of mobile medical education apps.

What is the major primary and secondary markets Pocket Body is targeting and how is it benefiting these end-users?

Our primary market is the medical student seeking an intuitive anatomy study aid. Our app is hugely popular with this cohort. We've also found it interesting to learn that this group use the app a lot in informal learning settings -- i.e. using our multiple choice quizzes for self-testing and revision when on a coffee break, waiting for a bus, or taking the subway.

Outside of this core group we are noticing increased interest and use from residents looking to refresh their gross anatomy while working in a clinical setting.

Lastly, we regularly receive feedback from health care professionals who are using Pocket Body to engage with their patients when communicating a diagnosis. Instead of pointing to a wall chart or plastic model, they are using our app. Furthermore, not only do patients better understand their diagnosis, but they also find it easier to relay their condition to their families.

What is common to each of these groups is that they all share an interest in visualizing the human body.

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