Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

January 17, 2022
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How to talk to sick kids

A new app from the Tucson Medical Center for Children

Kidspeak is a great way to help young patients better understand their bodies and it helps explain how you intend to make them better — and you get to be Dr Cool in the bargain. A digital whiteboard lets you draw on organs to illustrate why they’re sick or in the hospital and what treatment is planned.

The app was created by the Child Life Specialists at Tucson Medical Center for Children and is geared towards pediatricians, GP/FPs and emergency medicine docs. Divided into three sections, the first features a virtual tour of the Tucson facility, only useful to those who use the facility. The other two parts are designed for any physician who treats those under age 16 regardless of where you practice. In addition to the whiteboard, there’s a 200-item glossary of common medical terms explained in easy to understand language.

Kidspeak has only been out for a few months, but your colleagues who have used it are enthusiastic. Dr Iltifat Husain, editor-in-chief of, plans to use the app to explain disease pathology to parents and kids in a direct and simple way. “My favorite is the digital whiteboard section where you can draw on organ systems to show your pediatric population exactly what’s happening to their bodies,” said Dr Husain.

Another early physician user posted this comment online: “I had a lot of fun playing around with Kidspeak and plan to use it with the pediatric patients I see in practice and their parents. Usually apps produced by medical centers have poor user interfaces and are buggy, but Tucson Medical Center should be proud of creating a health app that avoids these issues.”

The credit goes to the Child Life Specialists at the hospital with significant input from the Patient and Family Advisory Committee at Tucson Medical Center. One aim was to make procedures and equipment less frightening for children. To achieve this the team included the sounds of an MRI scan, X-ray and ultrasound so they’ll be familiar when the time comes for the real thing.

Kidspeak by the Child Life Specialists at the Tucson Medical Center for Children
Devices: iOS and Android
Cost: Free

Another new app worth considering:
Canadian Guidelines on Sexually Transmitted Infections are now available as apps — CDN STI Guidelines — from the Public Health Agency of Canada, a sure sign that government agencies are embracing the new technology.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.


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