We recently spoke with Dr. Tadahiro Takada, founding President of the Japanese Society of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery, to get his insights on the use of mobile apps to facilitate clinicians' decision making and improve clinical practice.
Q. Can you tell us more about the rationale/reason for developing an app? What were your objectives?
A. We developed “Biliary Tract Cancers Classification (BTC C 2015)” and “Biliary Tract Cancers Guidelines (BTC GL 2015),” with the aim of allowing biliary tract cancer specialists to make judgments directly linked to clinical practice, and to concurrently facilitate revisions to new international codes.
The content of this mobile app was simplified and clarified, with the intention of promoting an easy way for health professionals to make judgements in clinical settings, and to improve their clinical practice for patients.
Q. Who’s the target audience?
A. The target audience consists of cancer specialists and other health professionals involved in the clinical practice for patients with biliary tract cancer. We hope that this app will provide more information and deeper insight for patients and their families when they are seeking a decision on the available treatment options.
Q. What are some of the benefits to clinicians?
A. This app enables users to determine the cancer stage using the checklist function in BTC C 2015, as well as to email the input checklist as findings.
Furthermore, BTC GL 2015 is designed to allow immediate access to necessary information with minimal operation, such as linking to clinical questions corresponding to diagnostic and treatment algorithms.
The app is available in English as well as Japanese; therefore, it can be used by health professionals worldwide.
Q. What challenges did you face as you developed the app?
A. The most difficult challenges were figuring out how to create an app that allows users to easily and clearly understand important medical matters, and how to promote simplified and accurate medical judgments on diseases.
Q. Why did you chose to partner with Wiley to develop this app?
A. Wiley is a partner in the publication of the Journal of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Sciences, which is the official journal of the Japanese Society of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery, and has also published papers in this journal that form the basis of this app. Because Wiley already has a shared information system and is skilled at creating mobile apps, we commissioned Wiley to develop this app.
Q. What is your advice to fellow society officers who might be interested in developing an app?
A. An important role of medical societies is considering how to clearly convey the latest medical information to health professionals and patients. Therefore, clinical practice guidelines and classifications should be widely disseminated. It is also important that such information is readily available in clinical settings; therefore, potential developers must bear all of this in mind when they work on the development of a mobile app.
Q. Did the final product achieve your objectives?
A. We are satisfied with this app, but globally speaking, there are not enough clinical practice guidelines or evidence for biliary tract cancer. In addition, as scientific knowledge continuously advances, new insights that are not included in this app may emerge. At the Japanese Society of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery, we aim to provide the latest information by continually updating these guidelines and classifications. We strongly hope that this app will benefit many patients suffering from biliary tract cancer and assist the clinicians treating these patients by sharing this app worldwide, rather than focusing on a single country.
Both apps are now available for download from the App store or Google Play.
Dr. Tadahiro Takada Source: Japanese Society of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery