Student launches health care education phone app

A pharmacy student has attracted faculty attention with his second application.

A pharmacy student recently developed his second free mobile phone app that aims to enhance the thought process in medical decision-making for medical students. The app was released on Apple’s App Store Sept. 16 and is to be released through the Google Play service this week.

Leon Do, who is in his last year at the School of Pharmacy, created the “Respiratory Tract Infections” app, which guides students step-by-step through the process of assessing and treating patients with strep throat, sinus infections or ear infections.

The app provides factual information for the user and illustrates a bigger picture where students can “connect-the-dots” and learn how to apply what they’ve learned in a practical setting.

“A patient comes in with … an ear infection,” Do said. “What do you do? What questions do you ask? How do you treat it? The app explains the process step-by-step how to come up with an answer.”

Do began development four months ago after speaking with Dr. Ina Calligaro, the associate dean for education, faculty development, assessment and experiential education at the School of Pharmacy.

Calligaro teaches multiple Pathophysiology and Therapeutics courses, and one meant for third-year students includes a unit on upper respiratory tract infections. She said the app would benefit her students during their URTI unit.

“The interesting thing [Do] is doing is giving students a different way to think about material in a precise manner,” Calligaro said. “It doesn’t replace classroom training, but is a good foundation for knowledge and how to apply the cases given to them. I think students will love it.”

Calligaro said she was interested in integrating this app in her class after learning about Do’s first app, “Heart Failure.” This app was released on the App Store on Feb. 17 and is still free online. It provides the same step-by-step process as the respiratory app, except the information pertains to systolic heart failure.

After development, Do shared the app with friends, who recommended he speak with Dr. Michael Barros, a clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice who was teaching a course on heart failure at the time.

“It was very exciting to see [Do] do something like this because it was very concise and up-to-date,” Barros said. “It was a good app, easy to use, and a good review to solidify everything they were taught.”

Initially intended for 150 students, the app received 500-1,000 downloads internationally. Do said he decided to make a second app utilizing critiques from the heart failure app.

Third-year pharmacy student Forrest Ridgway was one of the students who used the heart failure app in Barros’ course.

 “It correlates well to how things were set up in the course, because in heart failure there’s staging and treatment options,” Ridgway said. “The app and the course were integrated, so it made certain aspects of the unit clearer than they were before.”

Ridgway recently began working with Do on content development for the respiratory app.

Do said the idea for the respiratory app came from an abstract dream that quickly sparked development.

“I woke up and realized I could do something relevant to health care with this,” Do said. “I began working on it that night.”

A small team is developing content and creating new ideas for the respiratory app. Do said he is currently looking for more people to join.

Do dreams of expanding his apps beyond Main Campus.

“Our goal is to expand from within Temple,” Do said. “Our goal in the future is that we can have a startup company. We’re looking for people that are interested in creating something awesome.”

Kayla Oatneal can be reached at

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