SPPACES: MEDICAL APP REVIEWS
Fam Pract Manag. 2014 Nov-Dec;21(6):31.
Author disclosure: no relevant financial affiliations disclosed.
SHOTS 2014 enables health care professionals to review immunization schedules and readily answer vaccine questions at the point of care.
Source: Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) Group on Immunization Education
Platforms available: Android 2.1 and up; iOS 5.0 or later (designed for iPhone 5 but compatible with iPad and iPod Touch)
Pertinence to primary care practice: Using SHOTS, health care professionals can quickly research questions for individual vaccines regarding catch-up schedules, additives, special indications, and contraindications for patients of all ages. Users can also view adverse reactions, administration instructions, and brand names of individual or combined vaccines, as well as epidemiological data, basics about the targeted disease, and photographs of patients afflicted with each disease.
Authoritativeness/accuracy/currency of information: The app was created from immunization schedules developed by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It was written by immunization experts at STFM and reviewed by an expert from the CDC. The app's vaccination information is automatically updated mid-year, with its most recent update in February 2014. A 2012 survey of family medicine residency directors found that one-third had downloaded the 2011 version of SHOTS and three in 10 recommended or required that their residents use it.1
Ease of use: The home page contains links to the child/adolescent, adult, and catch-up schedules. With one tap, the desired color-coded immunization schedule appears. Within that schedule, tapping a specific vaccine navigates the user to a page containing the adverse reactions, additives, indications, and contraindications for that vaccine. On the home page, there is also a link to a concise schedule that displays recommended and contraindicated vaccines for specific medical conditions, including pregnancy, immunodeficiency, asplenia, diabetes mellitus, kidney failure, and liver failure. Navigating between different pages within the app can take a couple of seconds. The immunization schedules within the app are easy to view on larger devices but more difficult to read on smaller screens. The app lets the user select colorblind-safe colors for viewing the color-coded immunization schedules. SHOTS is available in English and German. All app content is available offline following the initial download.
Sponsors: Funded in part by an unrestricted educational grant from Merck & Co.
The app has a couple of minor drawbacks, including some slow loading times and difficulty reading the schedules on smaller screens, but it allows health care professionals to review immunization schedules and vaccine information quickly and conveniently.
APP REVIEW CRITERIA
S – Source or developer of app
P – Platforms available
P – Pertinence to primary care practice
A – Authoritativeness/accuracy/currency of information
C – Cost
E – Ease of use
S – Sponsor(s)
1. Nowalk MP, Clinch CR, Tarn DM, et al. Shots by STFM: value of immunization software to family medicine residency directors: a CERA study. Fam Med. 2012;44(10):716–718.
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