There has been somewhat of a deafening silence here at EP Studios with regard to blog posts. While my friend Dr. John M continues his torrential flow of bloggery, I have been more subdued than I usually am (which is already pretty subdued) and have left some tempting blog topics untouched because I’ve been preoccupied. Part of the reason for this is the remodeling going on at the Western HQ of EP Studios, in Parker, Colorado. But mostly it is because I have been working on the mobile app, EP Mobile. EP Mobile is my attempt to gather up in one place all the electrophysiology stuff that is hard to remember and put it on my mobile phone. If you use the program you see that this is an embarrassing long list of stuff. Included are calculators to calculate drug doses and QTc intervals, risk scores (sure I know CHADS2, but do you remember the HAS-BLED score?), diagnostic criteria (who knows the exact criteria to diagnose ARVC/D?), algorithms to diagnose the location of accessory pathways and to diagnose wide complex tachycardia, and a whole lot more. One of the more daring things I did was put a CMS ICD guideline “calculator” in the program. I have checked and rechecked it and it always gives answers that I believe are in compliance with the CMS 2005 NCD, as far as I can interpret that document (see my Medicare ICD Guidelines Exegesis for more info). Nevertheless, I would not look forward to a Department of Justice Investigation that was based on ICDs implanted based on my humble little mobile app.
The app has gone through 16 iterations, now finally arriving at (and deserving) the 1.0 version mark. There have been over 7,000 downloads so far. The Google developer tools track statistics on the downloads. Only 23% of the downloads are in the United States. The next highest downloads are in India, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, and Germany, in descending order. There is only an English version, but 55% of the downloads are in non-English speaking countries. 55% of users have Android 2.3 on their phones, only 1% have Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).
I will probably write later about the development process in more detail. Android apps are developed in Java, and use resources (layouts, strings, etc.) that are contained in XML files. There is an Android SDK that links up with Eclipse, the Java IDE. You can test the program on different Android version simulators, or on your own phone by just hooking up a USB cable. I found the learning curve to be fairly gentle. Of course I am not programming Angry Birds, EP Mobile is fairly simple programming-wise. Financially it is very easy to become an Android developer. There is a one time $25 fee, and that’s it. The development software is all free. Contrast with Apple. In order to port EP Mobile to iOS, I will need to buy an Apple laptop, plus pay a fee of $99 per year. In addition I will have to learn a new language, Objective C, which is sufficiently different from Java that the porting process will be a chore. Thus, although EP Mobile is (and will remain) free on Android, I am thinking of a nominal charge for the program on iTunes. Have to cover some of my expenses!
I would like any feedback on the program, good or bad. Please feel free to comment here or email me. Thanks!