introducing app.parameterz.com- a mobile-specific pediatric echo z-score site/app
A common theme expressed among many of the emails I get is
“when is there going to be an app for [insert name of your mobile device here]”
I have routinely answered these queries with a smarmy “Well, mister, I don’t even have a smart phone, so what’s in it for me?” However, being the sympathetic fellow that I am, I launched a campaign to rally some funding for developing a native iPhone app.
Response to that campaign was, to be polite, underwhelming.
In the meantime, I have followed the progress of the evolving html5 standard and think there might be a mutually beneficial way forward on the mobile front.
Even without my having a smart phone.
Prologue and Caveats
A principle issue that I had-- and still have-- with building a mobile specific app is that the use case is not what I intended: I never intended the site to be an official reference for pediatric echo z-scores. I built these web-based calculators primarily as a proof-of-concept. Secondarily, they served as a source to cross reference the actual calculations for use while developing our in-house echo reports. I thought others might find them useful for their own similar purpose. I may have, naïvely, misunderstood both the size and interest of my audience.
Most users of parameterz.com are repeat visitors; most use a single calculator, the Z-Scores of Cardiac Structures | Detroit Data calculator.
So the first caveat is this: I have issues with that reference. I believe the Detroit model is fundamentally flawed. Putting that calculator in even more hands goes against my better judgment.
The second caveat has a lot to do with the first: Because I never intended the site to be used as a clinical standard, the design of the site was tailored towards presenting the data in a specific manner: a tabular presentation of z-scores for all the sites mentioned in a single reference. Bedside clinicians are more likely to be interested in one-time calculations for individual sites.
So why would I build an app that promotes a use case that I never intended and uses a reference that I take issue with?
ParameterZ: A Vehicle
HTML5 introduces lots of new functionality to the web browser: new semantic containers, new input fields, simpler validation, web storage, and more. Mobile devices-- smart phones in particular-- are most likely to use modern browsers that embrace these new features. Early adopters of this technology might also be the same persons that could help me evangelize for a new standard in pediatric cardiac reference material: a crowd-sourced registry of normative values.
NOTE: I have not wired this up yet. I still have a lot of planning and work to do, but should I ever decide embark on such a project, an HTML5-based web app might just be the right vehicle.
So this is really just an alpha release of an HTML5 version of the existing Detroit calculator, tailored to the handheld viewport. It uses the same .js file, much of the markup is the same, and your results should be the same.
I have adopted a new strategy: make an app that looks good on any internet device:
I am still tinkering with how to automatically allow access so, in the meantime, fire me an email if you'd like access: