Mobile Medical Applications
Today I am speaking in Boston at Simmons College for the New England Chapter of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (NEASIS&T). The program, Mobile Mania: Developing Information Services for Portable Devices, will have five people (including myself), speaking about portable digital devices. I will specifically be speaking about mobile medical applications. I want to share one very good and interesting article that I found while preparing for this talk. (Here are my slides if you are interested. I just found out that they will be recording me. If it works out I will try and add the audio of my presentation to the slides.)
Surfing the web: practicing medicine in a technological age: using smartphones in clinical practice. Clin Infect Dis. 2008 Jul 1;47(1):117-22. PMID: 18491969. (not free full text)
Mobile technology has the potential to revolutionize how physicians practice medicine. From having access to the latest medical research at the point of care to being able to communicate at a moment's notice with physicians and colleagues around the world, we are practicing medicine in a technological age. During recent years, many physicians have been simultaneously using a pager, cellular telephone, and personal digital assistant (PDA) to keep in communication with the hospital and to access medical information or calendar functions. Many physicians have begun replacing multiple devices with a "smartphone," which functions as a cellular telephone, pager, and PDA. The goal of this article is to provide an overview of the currently available platforms that make up the smartphone devices and the available medical software. Each platform has its unique advantages and disadvantages, and available software will vary by device and is in constant flux.
I like this article for two main reasons:
- It specifically speaks about smartphones. Most of the research out there is about 2-3 years old despite having 2007 and 2008 published dates. These older articles mention PDAs as the main handheld devices in use. This is no longer the case, we are in the midst of a major change from PDA's to smartphones. In 2007 PDA sales fell by 43% while smartphone sales increased by 60%.
- They review 6 out of the 7 smartphone operating systems, Google's G1 Android and the 3G version of the iPhone were unavailable. The authors mentions each operating system's strengths and weaknesses as a whole. Additionally they mention which systems tend to have the most medical applications available.
For those of you who have IT's ear or any IT department readers, you might want to check out the following article:
CIOs will need to support an array of mobile devices and applications. With no dominant applications, healthcare IT executives must provide clinicians with maximum flexibility for their mobile needs. Healthc Inform. 2008 Feb;25(2):54, 56. PMID: 18320880 (free full text)
Perhaps those IT departments that only support Blackberry access might take a lesson from this article as well as from Yale who supports email access for several types of phones but does say to those who "have a need to use a PDA or SmartPhone to send or receive ePHI or other information that may be considered confidential or sensitive, please consult with their IT support provider for recommendations."