Startup converts massive medical text to interactive iPad form

9 02 2012

San Francisco-based startup Inkling has introduced an interactive, custom-built iPad version of a popular medical school textbook that could not be properly rendered on a typical e-reader.

Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, published by McGraw-Hill, is a 4,400-page title in print. The iPad version adds interactive animations and other multimedia elements – enough digital content to fill 57 additional chapters – including more than five hours of instructional video.

Inkling CEO Matt MacInnis tells MobiHealthNews that’s Kindle, Barnes and Noble’s Kobo and other popular e-readers really have no facility for handling tables and multimedia. For that matter, many e-reader apps are not well-suited for interactive medical content because the information has to be verified for accuracy.

Typically when a publisher prepares a novel for an e-reader, a computer merely dumps the text and formatting into a template, the process that takes a matter of seconds. But with medical texts, someone needs to curate the content to assure everything is correct. “If the dosage is wrong, I can’t blame it on Kindle,” MacInnis says.

Inkling has built a digital publishing platform for what MacInnis calls “difficult” topics, such as science and medicine, just for this purpose. “People on our team had to sit there and curate all of the content from the ground up,” MacInnis says.

But the payoff is rich content and fast information retrieval. “[People] can search all 4,400 pages in a second,” MacInnis says. Users can even search inside of video content and inside of animated guided tours, he adds.

Inkling also offers digital content for preclinical medical education, but MacInnis says that Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine is by far the largest project the company, which is a little more than two years old, has done to date.

Right now, the platform is only available for Apple’s iPad, though MacInnis says Inkling plans to expand to other operating systems.

View a demo of the iPad version of Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine here. [en línea] Boston (USA):, 8 de febrero de 2012 [ref. 31 de enero de 2012] Disponible en Internet: