A team of otolaryngologists and medical residents at the University of Ottawa developed LearnENT as an interactive, mobile educational tool for medical professionals. The app is available for free (iOS, Apple App Store) for use with most Apple mobile devices. In addition, the static content can be accessed on almost any device at www.learnENT.ca.
For the development team, the LearnENT app appears to be a labour of love. Offered at no cost (“because medical school already costs enough”), the sheer breadth of features and content offered within the free app is impressive.
According to the LearnENT website, the app has grown from its small original group of contributors to become a collaborative effort, with submissions from ENT professionals across Canada. From the main menu, users can access:
- Detailed classification systems (categorised according to multiple ENT subspecialties)
- A comprehensive list of common ENT eponyms
- Diagnostic criteria for various ENT disorders (along with interactive case studies)
- Cancer staging information
- A review of anatomical structures from Gray’s Anatomy
In addition, the history and physical exam section includes video examples, overviews of important steps, common mistakes, examples of common visual diagnoses, and quizzes to monitor understanding for each of the major categories within ENT.
The content has been carefully organised to ensure that users are not bogged down by the various categories and subcategories of information. Additional features include a search function, a built-in dictionary, note-taking functionality, and links to additional readings. As an added bonus, the majority of the information can be accessed offline.
The content for the app comes from a variety of sources, with the option to ‘learn more’ via links to sites like Wikipedia and Pubmed. While the list of contributors to the app includes a small team of peer-reviewers, users looking for heavily referenced content will be disappointed. Indeed, as acknowledged by the app and content developers in the disclaimer that appears when the app is launched, the information does not take the place of formal medical education and should be used only to complement actual medical training.