Meet Magnifi, The World’s First iPhone Universal Photoadapter Case

22 04 2012

Have you heard of Kickstarter.com?
if not, basically it’s a website where you propose a product and ask for backers to fund your idea. In return for pledges of money, the “backers” are rewarded with something in return. It’s like crowd sourced venture capitalism in a way. Lots of fun.

This is just one excellent example of what comes out of this site; this product is particularly relevant to pathologists. I would get one… If I had an iPhone… But maybe you do, in which case, it’s worth checking out!

Check out the abridged press release below. More pictures and videos if you follow the link.

Press release: Introducing Magnifi

Magnifi is the world’s first universal photoadapter case for the iPhone. Magnifi connects the camera on your iPhone 4 / 4S to your favorite optical instrument, allowing you to take pictures and video through the eyepiece. This includes binoculars, microscopes, telescopes and almost anything else with an eyepiece.

How it Works
To use Magnifi, simply slip your phone into the Magnifi case and drop it over the eyepiece. Using the built-in camera app, slide the case onto your eyepiece until the image border becomes crisp. Snap the latch closed to lock things in place, and you are ready to go!

Build/Features
Magnifi is a low maintenance afocal design, meaning there are no extra lenses to keep clean. Rather, it works by precisely aligning the iPhone’s camera with the optical axis of your existing eyepiece. Magnifi is a two-piece design. It’s case and eyepiece adapter are connected via Magnifi’s unique bayonet mount. To assemble, simply align the two colored dots, and twist counter-clockwise to lock. The bayonet mount gives Magnifi users instant interchangeability between their existing eyepiece adapters and any future supported phones within the product line. Can I get a high five from our future iPhone 5 owners in the audience? Magnifi is equipped with a safety latch below the phone’s dock connector that holds your iPhone securely in the case. The latch engages automatically with an audible click whenever you slide your phone into the case. Press down on the latch to release. Magnifi is made from impact-resistant Polycarbonate plastic. The same plastic that is used nearly all top-end phone cases. FeatherGlide design hugs your iPhone’s stainless steel band, leaving the glass on both the front and the rear of your phone touch free. In fact, Magnifi has ample room inside the case for both front and rear screen protectors.

World’s First
Magnifi is the world’s first iPhone universal photoadapter case, meaning it works on almost any optical instrument, and it is small enough to fit in your pocket. Photoadapter brackets have been around for a while, but they are all either too big to be a case that fits in your pocket, or they only fit a few eyepieces. Most brackets also have knobs or sliders that require endless fiddling to align the image. With Magnifi, we’ve eliminated all of that. Magnifi’s eyepiece adapter aligns your camera with the optical axis of the eyepiece automatically, and a simple latch locks everything in place.

Will Magnifi Work For Me?
Magnifi was designed to work with eyepieces that are 1in – 1.5in in diameter (25mm – 38mm). If your eyepiece has large eye seals, they must be removable. In order to align you phone’s camera with the eyepiece, Magnifi must be able to slide down over the eyepiece at least 1in (25mm) without obstruction. It is important that you measure your device before ordering, to know whether Magnifi will work for you. While Magnifi does fit some eyepieces outside of the range specified above, we chose a conservative set of specifications to ensure that our users will be happy with the Magnifi’s image quality.

Applications:
Magnifi simplifies medical documentation and empowers quick informal consults. In clinical training, Magnifi eliminates constant swapping at the microscope, at the fraction of the cost of a multi-headed training microscope. It is a powerful tool for both Pathology and Telemedicine. … You can even use Skype or Facetime to stream live demos to your classroom projector.

Automatic Scale Bars: There’s an App for That…
All you need to get started is the iPhone’s built-in Camera App. However, so many people have been holding their phones up to the eyepiece, that there are a number of Apps designed for iPhone eyepiece photography. For starters, check out the eyeMicroscope app that let’s you add automatic scale bars to your images.

This project has reached its goal and will be funded May 4th.

Link:
Magnifi Kickstarter Product Page





$44k to use an EHR iPad App? OK!!

28 07 2011

This has been all over the web today, just thought I’d pass it along.

DrChrono is an EMR iPad app from DrChrono, Inc. that has generated a lot of buzz recently.  Any practitioner who uses it in their office may qualify for up to $44,000 in stimulus money under the HITECH Act (the idea being that EHR’s save a ton of money- invest a little to save a lot).

So aside from the headline-grabbing statement, is the app any good?

I signed up and have poked around a bit, it’s REALLY interesting.  Well laid out, easy to use.  There’s text to speech, the ability to add pictures, bill the encounter, look up CPT codes, and even integrate with your Google Calendar.  Pricing varies from FREE up to $799/month (which really isn’t that bad, relatively speaking).

When I signed up, “Pathologist” was one of the selection choices, but as it’s written now, it doesn’t much cater to pathologists, but it could be tweaked to be pretty useful at sign-out!  Right now, I’ll use it as a CPT/ICD-9 dictionary, but I’ll keep playing around with it to see what else it could be used for on the lab side of things.

Here is a link to the deal on the deal.

Here is a link to the app.





The Brain of a Pathologist…

13 04 2011

Wordle is a website that generates word clouds based on whatever text you feed it.  Over the past 3 months, I’ve typed a 100,000 word Anatomic Pathology note-set in preparation for the boards.  When I pasted it to Wordle, this is what I got:





How to Save $$$ on Textbooks

24 08 2010

As a typical strapped-for-cash resident, I’m always looking for ways to save a couple bucks on textbooks.  I’ve posted previously about getting in on Amazon Prime with a .edu e-mail address, and, today, LifeHacker has a few more crowd-sourced tips on where to find cheap textbooks.  Some of the sites are familiar players.  Others, however, were new to me, so I thought I’d pass them along! From LH:

Chegg offers a nice compromise between buying the overpriced textbooks at your local bookstore and shopping for iffy-quality used books online. At Chegg you don’t purchase your books; you rent them for a semester. The Chegg discount, compared to retail prices, is anywhere from 30%-80% off, with most book rentals falling around the 50% mark. You rent them a semester, a quarter, or a 60-day rental window and then ship them back for free with a prepaid UPS label. You won’t be able to find books at pennies on the dollar like you can by scrounging for used or out-of-print editions elsewhere, but you do get a 30-day “any reason” return policy and free return shipping.

No one should be surprised to find out that Amazon has their hand in the textbook business. The book superstore originally offered textbooks mixed in with the rest of their book offerings, both new and discounted through their third-party marketplace. Now Amazon has a dedicated student/textbook section with enhanced textbook search and student-centric features. They even offer a free Amazon Prime membership to anyone with a valid student email address (even if you have an Amazon Prime account already, they will refund you the remaining balance and extend your Prime membership a year into the future). With careful shopping you can find textbooks anywhere from new with a slight discount to heavily-used and extremely discounted.

AbeBooks is a massive online marketplace for new, used, and rare books. They have a bustling textbook section with new and used books that average 50% off retail—we found quite a few books in our test searches that crept up in the 75-90% range, however. AbeBooks has a 30-day return policy and an easy-to-use sell-back program—plug in the ISBNs, print off a free mailing label, and ship them back for cash in your pocket.

Half.com, an eBay subsidiary, offers cheap media and books including textbooks. Like a giant used bookstore/record store equivalent of eBay, Half.com is a great place to find cheap textbooks. Low prices aside, one of the strong selling points for textbook shopping at Half.com is their Buying Wizard. Using the Buying Wizard you can search for the books you need and the wizard will search all the deals on Half.com to find you the best combination of prices and combined shipping to get your textbooks faster and cheaper.

BIGWORDS is the textbook website that put seller/shipping optimization on the map with their Multi-Item Price Optimization services. When you search for textbooks at BIGWORDS, they scan dozens of other textbook retailers and resellers to find you the absolute bargain basement prices. When the semester is over you can use the BIGWORDS engine in reverse to sell them all back or donate your textbooks through Better World Books to help fight illiteracy in developing nations.

So I did a quick search for ‘Rosai and Ackerman’s Surgical Pathology’ just to see how Pathology-resident-friendly each service could be, and I got some interesting results.

Chegg: Found, but unavailable at all outlets

Amazon: $375 new or $325 used + free shipping with Amazon Prime

Abe: $274 for “International Edition” + $9.99 shipping

Half: $488 new + ??? for shipping

BigWords: $233 for 130 day RENTAL + free shipping

Pretty interesting results, eh?  So it seems that AbeBooks is the clear victor in this case, but “International Version”??  I had never heard of such a thing.  When you mouse over it, it says the following: “The publishers of the international versions do not authorize the sale and distribution of international editions in the United States and Canada, and such the sale and distribution may violate the copyrights and trademarks of such publishers.”  Yikes!  However, there was an additional copy of the North American version for the same price right below it; still, interesting.  Also novel to me is this concept of textbook RENTAL offered by BigWords.  Could be useful for a particular project, paper or case, but to rent it for basically the price of purchasing it?!  Yea, I’m going to pass on that one.

Another tip I’ve used:  I subscribe to the Barnes&Noble and Borders email bacn (aka spam that you kind of want), and they will occasionally send out e-coupons for significant discounts on their products.  During my PGY-1 year, I was able to get Sternberg’s 2-volume set at 40% off using one of these coupons.  So I would suggest signing up for those as well.

Finally, ask your attendings!  I’ve gotten copies of Rosai, Kurman and Kjeldsberg from various attendings over the years for free!  Whether they were getting rid of books they didn’t use any more or they were updating to the most recent edition, I’ve often been the beneficiary of my bosses’ great collective generosity!

Do you have any great tips on getting a handle on textbooks on the cheap?  Please share them in the comments below!




Flickr Series: Skin Adnexal Tumors

20 08 2010

I’ve been on DermPath for the past two months and I’ve started to amass a few interesting basic and complex cases.  At my fingertips I had some 1st-year-level spot-the-pattern cases, so I upped some images to flickr.

Diagnoses?

Case 1:

Case 2:

Case 3:





Writing a Curriculum for an Informatics Rotation

10 08 2010

With the ACGME visit just around the corner, we’ve begun the typical frantic scramble to ensure a 100% dotted-i and crossed-t count here at AMC.  Part of that dance included updating/creating curricula for some of the CP rotations here.  As such, I volunteered to create a formal curriculum for our Pathology Informatics Rotation which is currently based on the one used at University of Pittsburgh.

I had never written such a document before, so I started by attempting to Google others that I could use as a scaffold; perhaps unsurprisingly, there wasn’t much out there, so I decided to use another rotation’s curriculum as a base and just work from there.  The wording was a bit challenging, but I think in the end it came together nicely.

That said, I present the following.
Please add your thoughts/comments below!

PATHOLOGY INFORMATICS

Overall Objectives:

Pathology Informatics is a broad and burgeoning discipline.  As technology is ever-evolving, it has become incumbent upon pathologists to keep abreast of the upcoming trends and innovations in the field of Informatics, both on the Clinical and Anatomic sides of Pathology.  At this point, basic computational competency is required for the normal conduction of the practice of pathology with new technologies being integrated into general practice on an increasingly frequent basis.

Unlike some other disciplines, there is a significant variance in the individual’s starting experience and comfort level associated with Informatics.  As such, the goal of this rotation is to provide both a solid foundation in the general terminology and basic functions and applications of Pathology Inforamtics in daily practice as well as insight into some of the more complex areas of the field including the discussion of evolving technologies.

Topics to be covered include: hardware and software basics, networking and communication standards, Laboratory Information Systems (LIS), efficient internet-based literature search techniques, basic data analysis, digital imaging and telepathology, quality control and regulation issues and emerging technologies.

Because the field changes so rapidly, it is most appropriate that the curriculum be primarily based on the internet (as opposed to printed paper), and therefore consist primarily of a series of self-paced Power Point lectures and trusted web sites including the web curriculum originally developed by the University of Pittsburgh (Source: https://secure.opi.upmc.edu/VRPI/index.cfm)

Specific Goals of the Rotation:

At the completion of the Rotation the Resident should:

  • Understand the basic hardware and software components involved in basic computing.
  • Be familiar with the different types of digital imaging for gross and microscopic specimens.
  • Be able to conduct an efficient literature search using various online resources.
  • Understand the basic purpose and function of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and Lab Information Software (LIS)
  • Understand the principle behind software databasing and its use in anatomic and clinical pathology practices.
  • Realize the privacy concerns raised by digital-based information and communication.

Specific Competencies for Pathology Informatics

The Resident Will:

1.            Patient Care:

  • Show understanding of the possible uses of technology to improve the expedition of patient care.
  • Realize the current limitations of available technologies.

2.            Medical Knowledge:

  • Demonstrate good fund of general medical knowledge as well as basic technical knowledge in the field of Informatics including:
    • Basic concepts behind digital microscopy, and telepathology.
    • The ability to identify different components of computer and microscope hardware.
    • Basic understanding of Lab Information Software (LIS) as well as database structure and function.
  • Be able to conduct efficient literature searches using various reputable periodical search engines.

3.              Practice-based Learning and Improvement:

  • Feel confident using a computer and the internet for work-related activities.
  • Be able to scan a glass side into digital form using the NanoZoomer.

4.             Interpersonal and Communication Skills:

  • Be able to utilize various digital means of communication between fellow physicians, staff and patients.
  • Improve comfort level in delivering PowerPoint-based presentations.

5.            Professionalism:

  • Understand the particular nuances of privacy in the digital age and the legal differences between digital and traditional means of communication.
  • Be aware of the privacy concerns surrounding the storage and transmission of patient information.

6.            System-based Practice:

  • Investigate the current literature regarding the comparative accuracy and confidence associated with digital pathology as opposed to traditional glass side reading.
  • Be conscious of the scope of the cost of currently available and evolving technologies.  Be able to discuss the cost-effectiveness and practicality of adopting various hardware or software solutions.
  • Understand the concept of standards for the exchange of information between different interfaces.

Rotation Requirements:

  • Take the online pre-test.
  • Complete online syllabus originally created by the University of Pittsburgh, found here:
  • Read the required chapters from the Sinard Book.
  • Prepare a 15-30 minute lecture on a specific area of Informatics for resident presentation.
  • Digitize at least one slide into the NanoZoomer.
  • Complete the online post-test.

Method of Assessment:

  • Internet-based Pre- and Post-Rotational Test.
  • Lecture evaluations.
  • Self-assessment from pre/post-tests.




Doctors Overwhelmingly Choose iPhone Over Blackberry

27 07 2010

[Via C|Net Health Tech]

C|Net’s Elizabeth Moore relays the recently released results of the 2010 Spyglass Consorting Group’s report entitled ‘Trends in Mobile Communications’.  The group’s first investigation in 2006 found that 59% of doctors were using smartphones at the time; the number now has grown to 94%, exceeding adoption by the general public.

The group also reports that doctors prefer the iPhone over the BlackBerry 44 to 25% (I’ll assume that the other 25% prefer Android), and that 78% are frustrated with “difficulties accessing and communicating with colleagues in a timely manner”.

I find these statistics puzzling, and I therefore pose the following:

  • Why were only iPhone and BlackBerry surveyed?  What about Windows Mobile? (it is still around, after all)  What about Android?
  • I am actually surprised that BlackBerry lost by such a margin.  If the question was: “Which do you prefer?”  Perhaps doctors own personal/private biases might have influenced their answer (aka I think the iPhone is cool, so I must prefer it).  Also, perhaps their own personal experiences have frustrated them.  At least at Albany Medical Center, all the Pathology staff have company issued BlackBerrys, and none of them have iPhones.  I’d imagine most people can easily find gripes with their current devices, and, at the same time, look at other devices through rose-colored glasses.
  • At AMC, the only way to access your email on a mobile phone is via BlackBerry server since Exchange and OWA is blocked by our stellar IT department.  So for this reason, I think a RIM device actually makes more sense than other smartphones.  I hate that I can’t get my e-mail on my phone (I currently am using a Sprint Evo 4G running Android 2.1).  So perhaps it’s just my institution, but BlackBerry certainly keeps you more connected here than any other platform.
  • Sure the iPhone is constantly featured in the news and on the blogs for its cool medically relevant apps (my blog is certainly no exception), but how many are actually useful in day-to-day practice?  Very few for a Pathologist, and perhaps a handful for clinical docs.
  • Finally, while I might have guessed that most MD’s are quite tech savvy at one point in my life, I’ve since found that not to be true.  They probably mirror that of the general public more closely than most people assume, and as such, are equally as susceptible to the excellent marketing campaign put forth by Apple, and, therefore, have a better opinion of their products.

Ultimately, it’s probably a combination of all of the above observations/extrapolations that resulted in the great divide in opinion.  Alternatively, the results could be skewed by sample selection or sample size (as the C|Net article alludes to).  Finally, perhaps the results are totally valid, and my suspicions are unfounded! haha.

As to the 87% of people dissatisfied with their ability to communicate overall, I feel that this number is much lower than it should be.  Perhaps some docs don’t even realize how much easier life could be with new and evolving technologies being used in daily practice.  I mean, beepers?  Really?!?  Sigh.

Anyway, just some food for thought.  What are your opinions on this topic?  Is the a truly superior device/medical assistant?





Compendium of Pathology Links

23 07 2010

Below, you’ll find a list of links to some excellent Pathology-related websites from professional organizations, to study cases, to blogs.  These are all sites that I’ve found useful over the past three years, and hopefully they can be of use to you as well!

Obviously, this list is far from comprehensive, and if you have more links that you find useful, please post them as a comment below, as I’m sure we are all always looking for additional great online resources!

Organizations:

Journals:

Helpful Websites (not exclusive):

Books with online resources (require purchase/registration):

Blogs:

  • See the Blog Roll on the right panel –>




The White Box

23 07 2010

Here in the Albany Med Pathology Department we maintain what’s called ‘The White Box’.  This box (which is actually gray, IRL) is for interesting cases that pop up during sign-out that are great, but not worthy of our weekly Uknowns conference.  It’s a great resource when you have some down-time, and the breadth of entities that cruise across the stages here at AMC is pretty amazing.

I’m sure most, if not all, programs have a similar box, or tray, or drawer, etc. available for their residents, but I have taken on a small project here to digitize and catalog the cases for easier retrieval, and, possibly, for online slide box publication.  So far, I’ve just been filing all the cases in a small folder on one of our servers, with an associated Excel spreadsheet containing case information and links to the images.  While I am user of the BioImagene-sponsored PathXChange, I’ve been keeping it local so far.

The two major problems I’ve run into so far are: 1)time and 2) support.  I can’t possibly maintain the database and image acquisition myself.  On any given week, 20-40 cases go through the box, and even if I tried my hardest, I don’t think I could maintain that pace.  I would love to have some help, but my coworkers are all as busy as I am, so that seems unlikely.  In addition, it seems that the creation of associated educational blurbs (a la Hopkins Unknowns Website), was not well received by the attendings here either (due to the same time constraint issue).

So, I guess the W-Box will never take off here to become a nationally or world-renown Mecca of pathologic entities and teaching sets, but it is still a fun hobby and a great way to build up a personal collection that I can tote around on a thumb drive instead of a steamer trunk full of brittle glass…

UPDATE:  I think it’s interesting how other people choose to share their cases online as well.  As you can see, on the right side panel, I have a Flickr page that I’ve posted some interesting cases to.  In addition there are a few Twitter Feeds that I follow that post cases and there’s at least two Facebook pages that have unknown-type photo albums.  I think that is REALLY cool.  Granted, it results in some fragmentation, but I like it because, ultimately, the more options you have at your disposal, the better off you are, imho.





PowerPoint: Tips to Giving a Better Presentation

21 07 2010

To be a pathologist is to be a teacher.   Whether it be giving resident lectures, conference presentations, tumor boards or even something as simple as in-house consults, we pathologists are constantly called on to share our knowledge with others.  One of the major vehicles for the delivery of said information is via PowerPoint (or maybe KeyNote if you are a Mac head, or maybe Open Office if you are a Linux hippie) presentations.  However, just because we are called on to teach, it does not mean that we are all GOOD at it.

As a PGY-4, I’ve basically been given PowerPoint presentations every day for… oh, say… the last 11 years.  I’ve seen every type of presenter/presentation over this time, and I’m sure you will all agree with me when I say that the success or failure of a lecture is almost more reliant on how dynamic the presenter is rather than how intriguing the content is.  I’ve seen the most boring, droll content be metamorphosed into vibrant memorable stories, and I’ve borne witness to the bastardization of  some of my most favorite topics.  Now, granted, not everyone is Steve Jobs, but there are a number of tips and tricks out there on how to improve on your presentations and your presentation skills.  I’ll link a couple of my favorite below:

And once you are done with your snazzy show, don’t forget to upload it to Slideshare.net so for all the world to see (aka steal slides from).

In the end, the more ammunition you have before you go into a fight, the better off you are.  There is no substitute for good preparation (someone once told me about the 7 P’s, and I think they are certainly relevant here).  Hopefully some of these links will help you the next time you have to give a talk.








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