The biggest mistake in doing dosage calculations is making the calculation in the first place.
Having been one myself, that is advice I give most math-phobic medics. Memorize the formulas in class, learn how to convert into like terms, plug in your numbers,and take your dosage calculation test…
… then use a cheat sheet or drug calculator on the job.
A wise medic knows when to consult his resources, and it makes no sense to stand on the quicksands of memory when real patients depend on your math. Use a friggin' calculator.
To that end, I had opportunity to review the OmniMedix medical calculator app for the iPhone.
The Omnimedix calculator from Omnimedic Solutions includes a full suite of medical calculators, including everything from pediatrics to the Parkland Burn Formula. It even has a disclaimer calculator, but whenever I click on it, it just brings up some legal mumbo jumbo I barely understand. 😉
Most of these calculations are second nature to me after years of practice, but having an app to do it for me at least limits the possibility of a math error on my part. I find the app particularly useful in calculating dosage from a non-standard concentration. A number of the hospitals in our service area use infusion pumps with the commonly used medications and dosage pre-programmed into the machine. This makes it much easier on the hospital staff, but often gives me fits because not only does the concentration of drug Hospital A uses often differ from that used by Hospital B, both of them differ from what I was taught in paramedic school or from the dosing charts included in my Critical Care Pocket Guide.
Hence, the utility of a medical calculator. Just plug in the desired dose, patient weight in pounds or kilograms, what dripset you're using, the amount of medication in the bag, the bag volume, and…
… BOOYAH! You get a drip rate in milliliters per hour or drops per second! How friggin' cool is that?
Okay, okay, maybe I get a too excited over little victories, but I'm down with any gadget that saves me from doing math, and the Omnimedix medical calculator performs that task admirably. It's available for $4.99, for iPhone and Android-based phones. Check out their demo video on YouTube for more features and information.
The other app Omnimedic Solutions sent me to evaluate is their Easy ECG iPhone app.
The app is designed for paramedic students and other healthcare providers for whom arrhythmia recognition is rarely required. It uses the standard five-step approach to arrhythmia recognition, and asks additional questions where applicable. Simply open the app, answer the questions about the rhythm strip, and in a few steps, you've got an accurate interpretation of the rhythm, and a brief explanation of the electrophysiology behind it.
It's not foolproof, but no single method is, and for those experienced at arrhythmia recognition it's unnecessary, but that's not the target market for this app. If you're a student struggling with arrhythmia recognition, or you find yourself only infrequently needing to identify an arrhythmia, you'll find this app very helpful.
I recommend them both.