When you purchase an app, the first thing you want to know is if the app delivers on its promise. The promise VisualDx makes is that it will aid physicians in making clinical decisions with enhanced diagnostic accuracy leading to improved patient safety. A bold statement, to be sure. So does it hit its mark?
"I think VisualDx is a great resource for primary care practitioners," said third-year resident Lori Prakash, D.O., who uses VisualDx very often. "During medical school, we get very little training on how to diagnose different dermatological pathologies, and in practice we see rashes on a daily basis. Having VisualDx as a resource right at our fingertips in clinic or in house is valuable so we can diagnose common conditions without the need for a specialist."
The first page of the VisualDx interface intuits that you either have an idea of what you're dealing with in your search for a diagnosis, or you have no clue where to begin.
The first method of searching is called Clinical Scenario. This method is sort of a choose-your-own-adventure style of diagnosis. You begin by entering a basic set of symptoms, then you select the location of the symptom. You can add multiple locations to the query. Ultimately, you’re given a set of images which are accompanied with articles to help you make your diagnosis.
The other way VisualDx works is by allowing the user to simply enter a diagnosis. This is a standard feature for any useful medical app, but with images and the succinctness that you'll come to expect from VisualDx. Results give you codes, synopses, and a bevy of images to help users make informed decisions.
Dr. Prakash really values the way VisualDx shorthands what can potentially be overwhelming data.
"The straight-to-the-point writing is really valuable because it is easier to glean pertinent points quickly while seeing patients," she said. "Additionally, the database of pictures is extremely helpful because being able to see many images of the same pathology really assists in making a diagnosis."
The app also has a Quick Start function that guides the user, giving the user an easier time in entering relevant data for the situation at hand.
Dr. Prakash described one of many instances in which she used VisualDx:
"A young infant was admitted to the hospital for possible herpetic lesions on the genitourinary region. If these were truly herpetic lesions, the patient would have to receive intravenous acyclovir which would keep him in house. However, with the aid of visual diagnosis using VisualDx, we were able to see many pictures of various presentations and came to an agreement that it was irritant diaper dermatitis with a likely bacterial superinfection. Of course we performed cultures and took the necessary diagnostic steps, however, VisualDx helped us comfortably come to a diagnosis, avoid long term intravenous therapy in this patient and allow the patient to recieve proper therapy."
As with anything on the internet, trust is important. So can you trust VisualDx?
Logical Images, the company behind the app, put together an editorial board as an oversight committee.
A cursory glance at the board of VisualDx reveals an elite roster of physicians, including several Harbor Pediatrics faculty members. The developers of the app have married the rigorous scientific standards that the board members have likely used in their personal library of published articles with them the same scientific standards of medical research into VisualDx and the realm of medical data sharing.
The board consists of members who VisualDx consider experts in their respective fields of science and medicine. VisualDx relies on the members of their board to keep their articles accurate and current.
I Definitely recommend VisualDx, said Dr. Prakash who uses the app daily. "I believe we are lucky to have access to such a helpful resource."
VisualDx is available on iPad, iPhone, Android, and all standard web browsers.
VisualDx is available with three subscription plans ranging from $19.99 per month to $38.99 per month. Institutes have the option of obtaining the app at a discounted price.