TechTool Thursday 006

TechTool review of Emergency Medicine Ultrasound by EM Apps on iOS (reviewed on iPhone)

Emergency Medicine Ultrasound gives guidance on performing emergency ultrasound procedures.  It gives the user an overview of the scan procedure and some examples of normal and abnormal scans. Extra sections assist with dictating ultrasound reports.

Website: - iTunes - Facebook


  • I love the UI and most of the design.  It looks good, embraces Apple’s guidelines, and is very easy to navigate.  The custom icons on the main index page give the design an interesting twist, so the user is not just looking at the same old Apple table view.   The radiology images provided in the app are good quality and also clearly annotated.
  • Unfortunately there is over-enthusiastic use of font shadowing in the ‘Overview’ sections.  Red font + shadow = fuzzy eyes.

User Interface

Emergency Medicine Ultrasound

Emergency Medicine Ultrasound

Emergency Medicine Ultrasound

Clinical Content

Emergency Medicine Ultrasound is full of info:

  • Scan section covering 12 scan types (including gallbladder, echo, appendix)
  • Each scan has an overview of the ultrasound procedure and probe placement
  • Example scans of expected findings and also of pathology
  • Videos showing how to perform some emergency procedures (e.g. thoracentesis, cricothyrotomy)
  • Dictation templates for the those writing a formal report


  • $5.49 – maybe a little on the pricey end but it does have good content so probably worth it.

Room for Improvement

  • Remove the font shadowing as it’s headache-inducing
  • Dictation templates seems a tad out of place in this app and are placed right at the top of the main index page
  • Make it a wee bit cheaper, in line with other similar apps


Emergency Medicine Ultrasound is a handy reminder for emergency doctors and a great teaching resource for anyone interested in working in the ED.  If the developers can tighten up the design (main index page topic order and font issues) then they’ve got a great app here
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    • says

      Good question Chris! I have looked at both apps and I was going to review One Minute Ultrasound until I came across this. One Minute US (OMUS) is good and, as you correctly point out, free. But you don’t get anywhere near as much info. One Minute Ultrasound has excellent videos of ultrasounds being performed and showing you the images found. As each video is only one minute -- it simply doesn’t give as much detail as EM Ultrasound (EMUS). Let’s use a FAST scan as a comparison:

      How to perform the scan:
      OMUS -- you can see the video of someone doing the scan but you couldn’t really get info as to the placement of the probe (although some videos do show this)
      EMUS -- detailed diagrams showing probe placement, direction, views etc

      Abnormal findings:
      OMUS: shows images of free fluid, pericardial effusion, splenic free fluid, pelvic free fluid, pneumothorax,
      EMUS:shows images of free fluid, splenic free fluid, pelvic free fluid, pericardial fluid

      Normal images:
      ONUS: Morrison’s pouch, diaphragm, heart, liver, spleen, kidney, bladder, uterus, lungs
      EMUS: kidney, liver, diaphragm, spleen, bladder, heart (with a guide as to which probe placements needed to view them)

      So, as you can see from this, the information given is similar. But the advantages of EMUS over OMUS is that it shows extra detail (particularly about probe placement); and most importantly, you can take your time to look at and refer to the images. On OMUS they are rushing through a video in a minute (I appreciate that’s the point!), so it’s not straightforward to refer back to a still image.

      To me this makes EMUS good value for money, but I like OMUS and it is a good free option.

  1. Minh Le Cong says

    thanks Tessa
    I had to ask. Make it a wee bit cheaper? Do you mean make it free? and if you want it free then I think you cant go past One Minute USS by Mike and Matt.

    And if you want detail and free, go check out iTunesU, Emergency ULtrasound, UC Irvine, Christian Fox.

    Love your column on tech tools! keep it up!

    • says

      Thanks for the comments -- it’s great to have some below-the-line interaction!

      Mike and Matt clearly have many fans on LITFL -- as I mentioned in my reply to Chris, their app is great, and it’s free. I like it. But EM Ultrasound does offer something that they don’t, and that justifies charging for the app.

      On the pricing…as you may know Apple has fixed pricing tiers. So it’s not just a case of $5.49 or free. There are three other pricing tiers in between these two options.

      When I release my own apps, I spend a lot of time researching the app store to decide on a reasonable price. This involves looking at similar apps, their prices, and what content they offer. You need to be able to justify charging more than another app (otherwise nobody will buy it anyway). I haven’t looked at the other free apps you mentioned, but EM Ultrasound would need to have looked at these and worked out that they are offering something extra that is worth paying for (they may well have done this). My research for EM Ultrasound’s pricing is obviously not as detailed as I do for my own apps, but my overall impression is that it is reasonable to charge for the app, but I’m not sure it should be at such a high pricing tier.

      And as they say where I come from, ‘Haw Jim, cud ya naw mak it a wee bit cheaper?’. Or a ‘perhaps one pricing tier lower would be acceptable’.

      • Courtney Wilson says

        Hi Tessa, et al.
        I’m so glad that you reviewed this app! I have to say, I could not disagree more with the criticism of the pricing. I find this app to be very unique in its functionality and utility. The app content manages to be simultaneously concise and comprehensive. The video quality is outstanding with both normal and pathologic images. And, as a long term user, I have been impressed with the app’s relatively frequent updates and additions of new content as the field of emergency ultrasound grows--which makes me feel that I have actually gotten a return on this small investment. If you want free material, there are plenty of online resources to be had. But if you want a tool that you can use at the bedside anywhere at any time, this app is invaluable and I think $5 USD is a very reasonable price, if not a bargain. Skip your next espresso treat and get yourself this rockin’ app!