Friday 15 December 2017

Anatomy app is just what the doctor ordered

A Galway-based team of designers has developed a revolutionary new 3D medical map of the entire human body.

WHAT LIES BENEATH: Mark Campbell with his new app
WHAT LIES BENEATH: Mark Campbell with his new app

Tom Prendeville

Early anatomists dissected cadavers to learn how the body worked and how the health of each organ affected the body as a whole. In our age, dissection is still an important teaching method in medical schools and for good reason: what you experience you will remember - whereas what you read can often be forgotten.

In the real world, when it comes to explaining to patients what is wrong with them and what the doctor intends to do, the patient often has no idea what the physician is talking about and will often remember very little.

Mark Campbell, who is an interactive multimedia designer by profession, had a very unusual idea which was inspired by Google Earth. He and his team set about creating an intuitive 3D map of the entire human anatomy so that doctors could use mobile technology to visually explain a diagnosis to their patients.

The end result was Pocket Anatomy, which a doctor can use on their phone or tablet. The technology is now in 50 educational establishments in the US and used by over 300,000 students. The NUI Galway campus-based company now plans to roll out Pocket Anatomy to medical professionals and hospitals around the world.

Campbell takes up the story so far: "I have been actively involved in healthcare software development for 10 years - firstly designing medical animations for life science companies, and since 2010, our team have been working on making Pocket Anatomy, the Google Earth for healthcare."

"Our aim is to take this underlying technology and make it more relevant and meaningful to patients, empowering them to understand and manage their own health and well-being. So far the reaction to our software has been incredible and we are getting positive feedback from all over the world."

The company's flagship full-body anatomy app switches seamlessly between male and female models.

Physicians can also use a unique layer slider to effortlessly explore nine layers of the anatomy, from the internal organs to the cardiovascular system and everything in between.

Pocket Anatomy recently won the Boost Best European StartUp competition at The Next Web Conference in Amsterdam - a highly prestigious award, which has opened many doors for the company.

Speaking of the award, Dr John Breslin from NUI Galway, who is a key adviser to Pocket Anatomy, said: "Galway is already home to many enterprises and multinationals in the medical technologies domain. It is fantastic that Ireland is punching above its weight in the healthcare and medical innovation space. Pocket Anatomy are a key part of this vibrant ecosystem."

Pocket Anatomy is currently raising finance to expand its US operations as well as its Galway-based development team.

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