• Building a Medical App: Approach, Infrastructure, and Challenges of Developing a Congenital Heart Defects App for Educational Purposes

      Stoker, Alexander; The University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix; Richardson, Randy (The University of Arizona., 2016-03-25)
      Mobile software application (apps) have exploded in popularity since 2008, when Apple’s App Store opened and have become increasingly present in medical education and medical practice. As evidence of educators realizing the potential apps have for educating students, the University of Arizona has created a department called the Office of Instruction and Assessment (OIA), which has a programming team that is committed to assisting faculty in the design, development and implementation of apps for University of Arizona Students. Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect in the United States, affecting nearly 1% of, or about 40,000, births per year. There are complex three‐dimensional relationships involved in many of the congenital heart defects that may be difficult for students to fully understand through the traditional method of reading and looking at two‐dimensional diagrams. The principle goal of this project was to participate in the design and development of an educational mobile app that allows the user to interactively rotate digital 3D models of hearts with congenital heart defects. Multiple approaches to developing an educational medical app were explored including utilizing basic app‐building programs that do not require computer coding or programming, paying a for‐profit company to develop an app, and collaborating with a larger educational institution that has the resources available for developing an app and has a potential use for the app. This thesis aims to describe the resources available to develop an educational app, the major factors that determine the best approach for app development and the challenges associated with each approach. Through the case example of developing “Heart Defects” with the Office of Instruction and Assessment at the University of Arizona and publishing the app on the Apple App Store it was determined that the major factors guiding the approach to app development are complexity of the app, computer programming experience of the individual planning to develop an app, and having access to a larger institution with the ability to develop apps and the institution having a perceived benefit from developing the app.