Saskatoon University Students Design iPhone App For Doctors

The University of Saskatchewan has joined in on the emerging mobile App market, becoming the first school in Canada offering courses on developing iPhone applications. Developers can create applications such as map tools or games that can be purchased for Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch. It’s become a burgeoning industry for developers.

“It’s a huge market,” said Chad Jones, one of three teachers of the course “For iPhone apps, I’ve heard that it brings in $500 million a month.”

Chad Jones is the creative mind behind the course. In fact, he used to work for Apple, and approached the computer science department explaning he knew how to program for the iPhone like the back of his hand. A Series of workshops will begin in the Summer, and is now a full credit course open to all those interested. Students are taught the basics and then asked to design a program of their choosing.

One of these apps being developed is a pocket reference for doctors, by Fred Buschau and Ryan Ukrainetz, designed to help doctors make quicker diagnoses.

Buschau and Ukrainetz have been acquaintances for years, both graduates of the University of Saskatchewan computer science program. When they had heard of a new course for developing iPhone apps, they decided to give student life an extended bonus.

Working with a local Doctor, they were able to develop an efficient diagnosing application.

“The doctor wanted something that was super quick . . . one or two clicks,” said Buschau. “It’s basically an aid in bedside diagnosis,” he said.

Gathering information from journal of the American Medical Association to assist them, the app provides access to a range of diagnostic information, including images, video and, most importantly, statistics on the go, from anywhere they choose. The Statistics are then used to detail the probability of a patient having a particular disease based on the appearance of unqiue characteristics. Of course what’s an app without build in calculation?

There are only two articles in the application at the moment, but Buschau and Ukrainetz hope to complete the rest of the data from a whole series of medical journal articles. Unfortunately they have to deal with some copyright issues so they can use this information.

“A lot of it is kind of common knowledge, but the statistics aren’t,” said Buschau. Still, the two feel that they are not diminishing the value of the original work, since users of their app will all be referred to the association’s website. Buschau admits they are not copyright experts, though.

If getting the app on the market means a partnership with the American Medical Association, Buschau says they are more than willing.

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