Doctors learning to take ultrasound images of babies' hearts may now swipe an app at their patient's bedside instead of turning the pages of a training manual.

Canadian pediatricians specializing in the care of newborns have created a mobile application to help fellow neonatologists in training.

"The app was developed to act as a quick guide or a quick reference for people who are actually acquiring ultrasound images in the early part of their training," said Dr. Afif El-Khuffash, a neonatologist at Toronto's Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

The app, called Targeted Neonatal Echocardiography or TnECHO, aims to give doctors the right information to diagnose their newborn patients more quickly, said co-developer Dr. Patrick McNamara, a neonatologist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Previously, doctors only had textbook guides. Most didn't bother turning to the manuals at the patient's bedside because they didn't find them very useful, McNamara said.

The free TnECHO app is meant to be used in conjunction with formal echocardiography training.

It has already been downloaded as part of training programs on nearly every continent, McNamara said.

SickKids cares for some of the province's sickest infants, including those with heart problems and genetic disorders, as well as premature babies.

With files from CBC's David MacIntosh