- A series of apps developed by 3D4Medical offer three-dimensional, real-time-rendered anatomical images based on magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography scan reconstructions. Users can “cut” a model—say, a 3D image of a hand—to see a cross-section and then can strip away layers. All of the apps (which include Hand and Wrist Pro, Shoulder Pro, Spine Pro and others) have videos embedded to explain pathologies or procedures. Video explanations start with a normal anatomy and progress through pathologic changes. Many patients can “at least get an idea of what could happen if management doesn’t work,” Dr. Bhana said. The apps cost roughly $8–$60 and are available on iOS, Android and OSX.
- DAS Calculator, an app that allows users to quickly enter information to obtain such scores as Disease Activity Score 28, Simple Disease Activity Index, Crohn’s Disease Activity Index or cumulative and weighed RAPID3.
- Lose It!, a weight loss and diet app. With many rheumatic diseases improved by diet and lifestyle, Dr. Bhana said he recommends Lose It! to patients often. “Trying to tell patients, ‘Well, go home and lose some weight,’ is for the most part pretty much unhelpful,” he said. With the app, users can set goals, and the app suggests plans to meet the goals. Then users can enter what they eat, and they can compete with family, friends and other users to see who can reach their goals fastest. It can also link with wearables for step tracking and more, Dr. Bhana said.
- Calm, named Apple’s app of the year for 2017, helps with meditation and mindfulness-based stress reduction, which has been shown to help with chronic pain, fibromyalgia, mood and cognitive disorders. It’s mainly an audio-based app, with a bit of a visual component, offering 10- to 12-minute sessions per day. Dr. Bhana said, “It’s one of my favorite apps. “It’s very simple to use, very low threshold, and most patients seem to respond quite positively to it.”
Thomas R. Collins is a freelance writer living in South Florida.