Caracal Diagnosis is an app aiming to fill a niche. Sometimes a physician just wants a simple tool that will allow him to input signs and symptoms and quickly receive a differential diagnosis. That is exactly what Caracal Diagnosis does. The developers call it a “Clinical Decision Support System.” For instance, if the user inputs “cough”, “fever”, “weight loss”, “hemoptysis” and “PPD test”, the output that’s generated is seen in this screenshot.
The output is ranked by a combination of likelihood and severity, visually indicated by the colored bars to the right of the disease. However, that is where the app stops. No information is available as to why those diseases were chosen (as selecting the disease does nothing). This is a simple tool, made to do one thing quickly. Like most programs of this type there is a bias toward sensitivity, not specificity. Adding symptoms will more likely add less probable diseases rather than rule them out. Also, this is not a natural language input system, so the user has to input the sign or symptom exactly like the program expects (i.e. “sweating” is not recognized as diaphoresis).
However, for what it does the app does work quickly and it was easy to figure out. We hope that in future versions the developers add the option of selecting a potential diagnosis that will indicate what symptoms led to its listing, and possibly even suggest a confirmatory test.
App features from the press notes:
- 1,600 diseases database, expected to be enriched in the near future
- 2,200 signs, symptoms, and lab findings to search from
- Clinical decision support system (CDSS)
- Unique searching algorithm
- Intuitive interface
- Differential diagnosis is displayed in less than 2 seconds
- No Internet connection required
The app costs $5.99 and is available from the iOS and Google Play app stores. Sorry Blackberry and Windows phone users, no joy for you yet.
Product page with download links to app stores: Caracal…