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Posts from the ‘App Store’ Category

App Store Reviews

June 30th, 2012

Rob Fahrni

Matthew Panzarino: “But the important thing is that there is a serious discussion now being had about this topic, which I feel is an extremely important one, both for Apple as the App Store continues to grow, and to the developers in its ecosystem. I don’t think anyone has the right answers yet, but I think that there are some very smart folks at Apple working hard on the problem, including the ex-Chompites. So I’m cautiously optimistic that we might see some results later this year.”

The entire app store review process has been a huge source of frustration for many iOS developers. I wrote about this problem in early 2011. RxCalc isn’t a huge seller, and we almost never get direct feedback from users. When we get a one star review on the App Store it’s often impossible to figure out what the user is really after. That’s where an Apple supplied method of contacting the user would be fantastic. We’d be more than willing to fill out a form at apple.com, have that reviewed by Apple employees, and have them forward that information to the end user. We’re not in the business of attacking our users, but we’d sure love to know how to improve our products. When we get a one star rating, we want to fix it.

It’s safe to say, we’re glad it’s getting some attention.

Another Bad Review

May 30th, 2011

Rob Fahrni

We’re a bit bummed at the moment, we must admit. We haven’t checked the App Store for RxCalc reviews in quit a while, so we decided today would be the day. It was not encouraging.

In part the reviewer “found it less than useless.” Ouch. That statement really cuts to our heart. We want RxCalc to be your “go to” Pharmacokinetics calculator, we really do. We believe it to be accurate.

What do you do when you get a review like this? In our case, nothing. The reviewer didn’t contact us. We can’t fix what he, or she, sees as a problem because we don’t know what that problem is.

So, TXRph, if you see this, please contact us at support@applecorelabs.com, and tell us what’s wrong. If you can, please provide us with your calculations and what you expect them to be. We really want to get this stuff right. We have a PharmD on staff that verifies the calculations by exercising our algorithms, of which there are many different methods. Could it be your teaching lead you to expect a different set of numbers? Maybe, maybe not. If you see this, please, let us know how we can fix it.

There are thousands of users of RxCalc out there. We rarely get ratings from our users. It seems that we only hear from users that have a bad experience.

Take that how you will. We’d love to hear from you, good or bad.

The App Store Disconnect

February 3rd, 2011

Rob Fahrni

My frustration with the disconnect between us and our customers on the App Store continues to grow. For RxCalc we typically see ratings that have to do more with lack of features, or new features, than the features we actually have. Don’t get me wrong, that’s great! The problem is we have NO way of communicating with these users to find out what they really want. We can make an educated guess and hope we’re correct, but that’s the best we can do.

Take a look at one of our latest ratings. It’s not horrible, three stars, but this person would like something added to the app. Based on this comment we have little to no idea what they’re really after.

“I found that when using 2 levels to calculate phamacokinetics that the VD is way off from any equations I have seen. Also it does not extrapolate a Cmin and Cmax. This program is useful for calculating first doses. I hope this can be fixed in the next update since this is the only kinetic program I could find for the apple”

In this case the user is probably used to using a different equation, or method, to determine dosing. As we’ve explained here before we use Creighton vancomycin calculations, but there are many others. Different method, different results.

If Apple would allow us to make contact with our reviewers we could actually bring some of these requests to life! As it sits today, we can only hope they’ll make contact via our support page, or we can make our best guess at their request.

That’s not so good.

Hello 1.2!

October 7th, 2010

Rob Fahrni

It’s been a few months in the making but RxCalc 1.2 is now available in the App Store.

What’s new? Glad you asked. There are two new features to talk about.

  1. Support for dosing adjustment using single level vancomycin kinetics.
    • The calculations are performed using both patient specific information supplied by the user as well as patient population parameters.
  2. Literature supported High Dose Extended Interval (HDEI) (aka “once daily” or “pulse”) aminoglycoside dosing.
    • Calculations for gentamicin and tobramycin are based on 7mg/kg adjusted body weight.
    • Calculations for amikacin are based on 15mg/kg adjusted body weight.

This release was also unique because we finally opened the door to a Beta Tester. Our heartfelt thanks goes out to Robert B. Martin, Pharm.D. Robert provided a critical eye for Jerry’s Pharmacokinetic Calculations and his years of clinical experience were priceless. He’s given us a lot of great feedback we’ll be sure to include in future releases. That’s right, we like to hear from our users!

We hope you enjoy using 1.2 as much as we enjoyed developing it.

Pitfalls of App Store Reviews

September 3rd, 2010

Rob Fahrni

I believe it was Marco Arment that gave the advice “Don’t read App Store Reviews”, or something to that effect, and I can see why. For RxCalc they’ve typically been fairly poor. Some have provided great feedback that lead to changes in the applications, but recently we received a review that left us scratching our heads. Here’s the review.

This program really underdoses all my patients. It predicts troughs of 20 and 25 with normal doses. I used it just the other day and it predicted a trough of 26.4 and I got an actual trough of 14.7–no changes clinically with the patient. This program is crap. Good thing it only cost 99 cents!

Can you see the problem facing an app developer with a review like that? Actually there are many problems with it. Here are the two biggest, as I see it.

  1. It doesn’t provide any meaningful feedback – We can’t reproduce the “problem” or fix it.
  2. We have no way to contact the user to see if we can help.

I really wish this user would’ve contacted us via our support e-mail address. We’re very confident our math is correct, we spend a lot of time verifying the results, it’s what makes the application useful. I’d venture to guess this is a configuration issue, but alas, we’ll never know.

We’re grateful for our users and we want to make their experience the best they’ve ever had. RxCalc should help you do your job, not hinder it. We like the feedback, good or bad, and love when it leads to improvements in the overall usability, and performance, of the application.

It’s disappointing when we see a review in the App Store like this because we can’t help this user solve their problem.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

May 19th, 2010

Rob Fahrni

When we released RxCalc we did what most companies do, we setup a page for the application and made sure we listed various different contact addresses on the page as well as creating a contacts page. We had hoped we’d get feature requests, support requests, and constructive criticism. What we’ve discovered is our users don’t really provide much feedback. We’ve had some, but not a lot. We have, however, had a few folks give feedback on iTunes. Some great, some not so great. It’s been a strange ride and I thought I’d share some of that feedback here.

The Good

“I’ve been using this app for a week or so, comparing results to a program I’ve used on my Palm for several years. The two calculate very similar results, and I find myself using RxCalc more and more.”

This user actually sent us a direct e-mail with a feature request. He was interested in better options, like being able to enter height in centimeters and being able to adjust the Volume of Distribution value. Just the kind of feedback you hope for, and he asked for something that would make his experience better. Great stuff.

The Bad

“The interface is rigid and clunky…”

Rigid and clunky, ouch. This feedback has actually been quite helpful. We’ve made changes to an upcoming release to address this very problem. We’re hopeful this user will be happy with the change, if he’s still using RxCalc. If he’s not, we hope he gives it another try.

The Ugly

“Does not work. Interface is clunky and gives me error messages when I put in values. I don’t believe for a minute the positive reviews are real. Cannot use product nor would you want to trust calculations (if you can get them from the app!) in a clinical setting. If it smells like garbage, works like garbage, and looks like garbage, it probably is.”

This review just makes us cringe. We know exactly what this user is talking about. The UI in 1.0 is rigid, we thought it was a good thing but it turns out that wasn’t such a great idea. In trying to protect the user we made some mistakes. Those have been addressed in the next release.

For our 1.0 release we focused heavily on the math and tried to keep the UI as simple as possible. Most of the feedback we’ve received has been UI related and we’ve concentrated on those issues. The math has been solid and is something we haven’t taken lightly.

What can you expect?

I think it’s safe to say we’ve addressed these issues in the next release. We hope our users are happy with the changes, and we think you will be.

Got Pharmacokinetics?

December 31st, 2009

Rob Fahrni

RxCalc IconThe year is coming to an end, so why not celebrate by purchasing a copy of RxCalc for your iPhone? There’s still time to buy before the end of the year and at $0.99 it’s a real bargain! At least we think it is.

So, what do you get for less than a buck?

  • New Start – Vancomycin and Aminoglycoside.
  • Adjustment with Levels – Vancomycin and Aminoglycoside.
  • Ideal Body Weight
  • Creatinine Clearance (CG)

That’s just the 1.0 release. We have more features planned for the next release and we’d LOVE to hear from our users, just drop us an e-mail at support@applecorelabs.com, it’s that easy.

If you’d like more information on RxCalc, just visit the RxCalc product page. If you’d like to purchase RxCalc, visit the iPhone App Store.

RxCalc One Day Blowout!

September 5th, 2009

Rob Fahrni

In honor of Labor Day, Monday, September 7, 2009, we’re going to offer RxCalc FREE for one day.

For 24-hours you’ll be able to download RxCalc for nothing, so tell all your friends.

Don’t forget, Monday, September 7, 2009 is RxCalc for free day!

RxCalc 1.0.1 now available

July 30th, 2009

Rob Fahrni

We’ve been sorting through some user feedback, it’s great stuff! We noticed a recurring theme, “Why can’t I make adjustments after my initial calculation on a New Start.” We found that strange because you can definitely make adjustments after the initial calculation’s are performed. So, we did a New Start, and it became quite obvious why people were confused. The results table fills the screen perfectly and there’s no indication you should scroll down to make your adjustment!

RxCalc results version 1.0

So, we did a quick release to fix the problem. In 1.0.1 the screen will show and scroll to the bottom, where the adjustment fields are, right away. It’s animated so you now know there’s more data above if you’re interested in viewing it. The critical data lies at the bottom of the screen; Tau and Estimated Dose, plus Desired Dose, Given Every, and Calculate. We hope this clears things up. (NOTE: The values used in the illustrations were NOT entered by a Clinical Pharmacist, or a healthcare professional. They are for illustration purposes only.)

RxCalc results version 1.0

Introducing RxCalc

July 4th, 2009

Rob Fahrni

RxCalc IconApple Core Labs first iPhone/iPod Touch application, RxCalc, is now available on the iPhone App Store. RxCalc is a pharmacokinetics calculator designed to help pharmacists, and doctors, compute the most commonly used clinical calculations:

  • Pharmacokinetics – New Start
  • Pharmacokinetics – Adjust with Levels
  • Ideal Body Weight
  • Creatnine Clearance