October 10, 2011
It's hard to overstate the impact Steve Jobs, who died Wednesday at age 56, has had on technology for the past 30 years. In hardware, software, communications and design, Apple's contributions have been incalculable – not least in healthcare.
Physicians and clinicians like smart functionality and sexy design as much as anyone. And that's a huge reason why, in barely three years, the iPhone and the iPad – and the dozens of other smartphones and tablets that have followed Apple's lead – have found such a foothold in hospitals and physician practices.
Just this week, at the launch of the new iPhone 4S, Apple CEO Tim Cook noted that "80 percent of the top hospitals in the U.S. are now testing or piloting the iPad"
– using the device "to access patient records, to review medical images, to administer bedside care."
In a healthcare sector that's taken decades to digitize on a scale comparable to other industries, Apple's mobile devices have been adopted in impressive numbers. The interest from care providers is immense. (Of the stories with my byline on healthcareitnews.com, the three most popular so far in 2011 are all about the iPad.)
The innovations speak for themselves. Many big-name electronic health records vendors have developed iPhone or iPad access capabilities. There's also an increasing number of iPad-native EHRs. The devices have proved their worth from the get-go when it comes to telehealth – and the new iPhone 4S (with its 8 megapixel camera and 1080p HD video capabilities) looks to be even-better suited for remote diagnoses in time-sensitive emergencies. The galaxy of self-monitoring, smoking cessation, fitness and assorted other mHealth apps in Apple's App Store have helped bring about a new era in personal health.