Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 53 seconds

Orthopedic Patient Education (OPE) App 2.0 by 3D4 Medical is a 3-D video-animation-based patient education app for healthcare professionals to effectively communicate anatomy, conditions and treatments to patients.

The app covers a variety of conditions such as joint diseases and disorders, as well as joint physiology. Within the app are more than 140 animations:

25 covering Anatomy

84 covering Conditions

32 covering Treatments

With this interactive app, physicians can watch a video alongside of a patient, pausing to clarify the nature of the orthopedic condition and potential medical solutions. The videos provide physicians with a clear and dynamic way to communicate with a patient and for the patient to understand the condition. The result is a more productive, less time intensive consultation with the patients.

The OPE app draws upon animations found in 3D4Medical's Body Region Pro series apps as well as additional animations unavailable elsewhere. These animations have been brought together to make for a more comprehensive repository for orthopedic conditions and treatments.
The apps are designed in conjunction with Stanford University School of Medicine. The App is available for iPad-2 and Mac OS-10.6 or later.

Technology & Utility: Easily Search, Demonstrate and Educate the Patient

The primary features within the app are the Browse and Consult tools.

The "Browse" tool is where the animations are stored and is searchable by category. A further description of each animation is given in a quick and easy to use reference index. Each high-resolution video is short (about 2 min.). Videos can be viewed in portrait or landscape mode.

The "Consult" tool is where the physician can pause and then draw on any animation with the pen tool. It is easy to highlight and annotate specific images, which can either be imported into the consultation tool or sent directly to the patient via email.

This consultation tool (not available on iPad1), allows the user to create and edit a PDF document made up of annotated screens taken from the animations. This feature also has 9 built in PDF brochures covering carpal tunnel Syndrome, Elbow RA, Hip OA, Hip RA, Knee ACL, Knee OA, Knee RA, Shoulder RCI and Wrist OA.

Better Doctor-Patient Engagement

In the past, doctors relied on plastic anatomical structures and one-dimensional illustrations in order to explain orthopedic conditions and surgical procedures, hoping patients retained enough of the information to make informed decisions.

With the OPE app, physicians only need a tablet to effectively educate their patient about a musculoskeletal condition and possible solutions. The physician can create annotated images with the Consult tool and email the information to the patient for review at home. The notes and images can also be retained as a record of the consultation with that patient.

Additionally, PDFs can be generated for custom patient education handouts.

What Could Make the App Better?

According to the website, the Consultation feature is currently only available in the iPad version, but will be added to the Mac version in the near future.


Although pricier than many orthopedic and anatomical apps, clinicians who use the OPE App say it is worth the price. At the time this review went to press, the app was on sale for $39.99 in iTunes (40% off regular price).

Learn More: Watch Video

See the full list (PDF) of the animations.

Karen M. Rider, M.A. is a freelance writer with special interests in wellness, health psychology, healthcare news and integrative medicine. Karen also writes marketing copy for health and wellness practitioners across a variety of specialties. 

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