Apple the Health Reformer

It just might be that Apple has set the stage for a health reform that has been elusive for decades. The bane of health reformers has long been healthcare records that exist only in physical, paper files. Efficiencies that just about every other industry enjoyed were out of reach because of this addiction to paper records. It was the roadblock to badly needed healthcare information systems.

The only technology available to doctors for electronic medical records was chained to cumbersome computer terminals. Doctors and nurses avoided using any technology other than medical equipment for diagnosis and treatment. All this was mostly true until the iPhone launched.

Now 75% of physicians own at least one Apple product. iPhones are used by 60% of doctors in their work, and 48% own an iPad. It seems that physicians forgot their aversion to information technology as soon as the iPhone appeared. With the mass adoption of smartphones and tablets, a broad range of applications emerged to open the door for doctors and nurses to access a flood of medical information at the point of care.

Smartphones and tablets are becoming the mainstay for training new physicians as more medical schools do as Yale has done and eliminate printed materials for delivering their curriculum in favor of electronic media. Tablets and smartphones are facilitating remote healthcare through telemedicine. Digital diagnostic images are delivered to tablets and smartphones routinely. And this burst of innovation shows no sign of slowing any time soon.

Who knew that smartphones would lead to smart medicine?

Click here to read more from Healthcare Global, click here to read more in InfoWorld, and click here to read more from Minnesota Public Radio.

Medical Student image © UC Irvine / flickr

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