Contemplating life.

ISBAR Clinical Handover App

I came across this whilst browsing through the web: ISBAR, a joint effort from the New South Wales and South Australian Heath Services.

What is it? A surprisingly simple iPhone and iPad app for clinical handovers, which I wish I had as a student: ISBAR stands for Introduction/Identify, Situation, Background, Assessment and Recommendation. Here are some in-app screenshots:







As you can see, there are specific handovers for different types of patients, and you can even save custom handovers. Brilliant, can’t wait to try it out myself.

More information and download links can be found on the official website:


Following my recent theme of technology, and spurred by the Podmedic‘s question “What smartphone apps do you use?” (MedicCast Episode 256), I will present my setup, an iPhone 4 32GB running iOS 4.2.1.

This is my home screen:

I tend towards minimalism in life (less junk to get in the way of really important things, check out these sites), so I only have one page, with all my similar apps bundled in to one of four folders. Here are the relevant two with all the installed apps, from left to right, top to bottom:


  • Oxford Concise Medical Dictionary (paid): Useful reference with all data stored locally, great if no networks are available. As the name suggests, it is concise, lacing in depth knowledge and some more nichey terms, but overall helpful and well written.
  • Instant ECG (paid): Again, all data on the phone – which include 12 lead pics, ECG videos and a heap of knowledge. Really like this app, both from a reference and a learning point of view: it has a quiz mode tucked inside.
  • Medscape (free): Used infrequently, but not bad for reference. Menu sometimes a little misleading.
  • iBooks: Se my last two posts.
  • EMT Plus (paid): This came in real handy on a long haul flight from Frankfurt to Singapore. Take a test, either the whole one, or just a few from a category (airway, trauma etc), and tap the correct choice it will tell you if you are right or wrong, and why! Generally up to date, only one or two answers I didn’t agree with.
  • iTranslate (free): This handy app enabled me to ask my Dutch nanna in (not so) fluent Dutch which pub she would like to be taken to, and why her sausage dog is green. Also good for serious communications.
  • Remote (free): Umm, wrong category. Note to self: must change.
  • Maps (pre installed): Navigation device and the map book giving you grief? Got lost on the way to work at a new depot? Use maps!
  • Clock (pre installed): need to know the time? Anywhere in the world? Gotcha. Also with a nifty stopwatch feature. So nifty I’ve never used it.
  • Calendar (pre installed): Umm, when am I working again? Oh yeah, I’m at work now. Just doesn’t feel like it, sitting at the cafe staring at all the hot girls walking by…
  • Engin (paid service):nHmm, need to change category. VoIP.
  • Pkt Weather (paid): Do I need my rain jacket today? Or will I be melting out in the sun? I love this (australian) weather app – with infos sourced directly from the BoM (Bureau of Meteorology)

Internet/Information (all free)

  • Safari: on the job, a great way to access Wikipedia and other websites
  • Mail: email, duh!
  • Twitter: @flobach, if you haven’t found me yet
  • Facebook: my outlet for silly jokes
  • Dropbox: I cannot recommend Dropbox enough: for backups, for sharing, for having all your documents available on the go – brilliant!
  • Google Reader: A bookmark, to keep up with all the blogs.
  • Simplenote: I keep a to do list, and my shopping list on here.
  • Skype: Well, it’s Skype.
  • Consume: How much data do I have left to flick through blogs until the shift finishes?
  • ABC: Australian Broadcasting Corporation, my source of national news.
  • Thousands: Restaurant/Gig guide.

There you go, thats the main bits of my phone explained. What apps do you use?

Note: All apps from the Australian iTunes store. The background picture was taken on my iPhone mid last year on the ferry crossing Sydney Harbour – yes, it’s the Sydney Habour Bridge (but you knew that anyway, didn’t you?). Original pic here.

How To: Mobile Guidelines/Protocols

Following from yesterdays post how to add flash cards to you smartphone – here the second part how to add you guidelines/protocols and how to keep everything neat and tidy. Same equipment used as last time.

1. Get an electronic copy of you guidelines/protocols.My service has them on the staff intranet, many services make them freely available online (a few here), and some…

…I guess you’ll have begin harassing your boss, or just start typing (hey, it’s a good way to process and learn the stuff!)

2. For easier access in stressful situations (i.e. on the way to an emergency), I have taken out the most important pages of my guidelines, and made individual PDF documents. In this instance, I am making a single PDF for Epipens (n.b.: we don’t carry Epipens, it’s from the volunteer guidelines. Email me for clarification.

3. Highlight the page you want to single out on the right hand sidebar

4. Open a Finder window

5. Drag the highlighted page to the finder window. It will appear as the filename with the name appendage ‘(dragged)’

For ease of overview, I have all drugs as slideshow flashcards for learning purposes in a flashcard folder, plus all my individual drugs and guidelines in a PDF folder for quick reference on the way to a job. Here’s how to sort it nicely:

1. On you iPhone/iPod Touch, go in to iBooks. Tap on the ‘Books’ button, top middle (in the below screenshot it says ‘Flash Cards’. You will get the ‘Collections’ menu. Tap ‘New’, and add the collections you want. I have my guidelines in ‘PDFs’, and my flash cards in ‘Flash Cards’, as you can see. Tap ‘Done’.

2. You will have a bunch of files in your folder. Tap the top left button ‘Edit’ – this is the screen you will see:

3. Mark all the ones you want to move to a specific category. In this instance, I will be moving Amiodarone, Aspirin, Cophenylcaine and Fentanyl to the ‘PDFs’ category.

4. Tap to select your category, and tap ‘Done’.

5. All my Flash Cards are in the Flash Cards category. To change to my PDFs category, just tap the top middle button.

No excuse not to have all your guidelines/protocols in your pocket anymore!

Hope it helps, and that it wasn’t too difficult.. As always, any questions at all feel free to email me.

How To: Mobile flashcards

For all you smartphone users: Take your guidelines with you on your phone, and make easy flashcards for on-the-go study!

Equipment used was MacBookPro running OS X 10.6.6, Apples iWork Keynote and an iPhone 4 running iOS 4.2.1, with iBooks 1.2.1 installed. Other hardware and software options should work in a similar fashion.


1. Create a presentation. For learning my medications, I have the prompts on one slide, and the answer on the following; e.g. Indications / list of indications / contraindications / list of contraindications.

2. Save the presentation as a PDF document (Share -> Export -> PDF). For other programs you may have to print the file to PDF (OS X), or save a file as PDF.

3. Go to your iTunes library, click on ‘Books’ in the left menu bar. Open a Finder window at the location where you have saved you PDF flashcards, then drag and drop them in to the main area (the grey colored file hovering there is me just dragging it from the Finder window to the iTunes window. Be sure to name them properly, so you know what you’re looking for in the heat of the moment.

4. Sync your iPhone/iPod Touch with your computer.

5. Switch to you iPhone/iPod Touch. You should see your imported PDF documents!

6. Start studying to your brains content!

7. Stuck? Send me an email!

Tomorrow: How to easily put your guidelines and protocols on to your smartphone, and keep everything in order. Until then – happy studies!

EDIT: I received an email from a reader who uses the Flashcards app. I did not know about the app, but also wanted to stay with apps that I already have on the phone.

Thanks though for pointing it out Chris!