Health related iOS apps are proliferating quickly in the App Store. While the most popular health related apps tend to be focused on diet, exercise, and stress relief, there are some other fast growing trends that show how the iPhone and iPad transforming the healthcare experience for consumers.
According to MobiHealthNews, which provides an annual assessment of the market for mobile apps related to medicine, health, and fitness, three new trends are emerging that could significantly reshape our experience of healthcare.
Seeking to challenge the iPad’s ongoing success in the healthcare field, Panasonic has announced an updated version of Toughbook tablet for doctors offices and hospitals. The update is the latest for Toughbook product line that Panasonic introduced in 2008.
The 10-inch screen size is about the only thing in the new Toughbook CF-H2 Health tablet offers that is similar to the iPad. The Toughbook is a Windows 7 tablet powered by an Intel Core i5 processor that relies on a 320GB hard drive rather than flash memory for storage (though a 128 GB SSD is available as a custom build option). It weighs in at a whopping 1.58 kg (3.48 pounds) – more than double the weight of the new iPad.
The Toughbook, which will ship next month, will have an entry-level price of €1,898 (approximately $2,330). That’s more than four times the cost of an entry-level new iPad and just shy of six times the cost of the entry-level iPad 2.
The uses for Apple’s iPhone and iPad in healthcare seem to be growing by leaps and bounds. The latest field of medicine to take note of the power that iOS devices offer doctors and healthcare providers is ophthalmology. A new study shows that the iPhone may make a better tool when reviewing certain types of ophthalmology images that a standard desktop PC workstation.
What’s truly amazing is that the iPhone used in the study was a four-year-old iPhone 3G.
When it comes to talking about iOS devices in healthcare, most of think of doctors carrying iPads the way that they used to carry lengthy paper charts or clipboards. We think about doctors looking at X-rays and other diagnostic tests on an iPad, perhaps even using the iPad to illustrate a broken bone, illness, or surgical procedure.
Doctors, however, aren’t the only healthcare professionals to be embracing mobile technology. A new study shows that the vast majority of nurses have also embraced mobile devices, particularly the iPhone and other smartphones. It also highlights that differing needs of healthcare professionals when it comes to mobile technology.
Doctors may be fans of the iPad as a clinical tool, but they’re not certain that Apple’s iPad, the 5000+ health and medical apps in the App Store, or other mobile technologies are safe and effective health tools for patients. That’s the gist of a report by PwC Global Healthcare. The report was based on surveys of physicians, healthcare management professionals and payers, and mobile technology users in ten countries around the world.
According to the report, just under two-thirds (64%) of healthcare providers acknowledged that mobile technologies offer potential benefits for patients, but feel that mobile health (also known as mhealth) is virgin and untested territory. As a result, the majority of doctors (73%) don’t suggest iOS or mobile health apps to their patients and some (13%) even discourage patients from using them.
The iPad has been popular with doctors and healthcare providers since it debuted two years ago. In fact, the iPad’s form factor and capabilities are almost tailor-made for many common and emerging uses in medicine like electronic health records, medical and drug reference guides, and even remote diagnosis using FaceTime.
With hospitals rolling out iPad deployments and many physicians in private practice buying them, it was only a matter of time before healthcare-specific iPad accessories hit the market. Griffin Technologies is one of the first companies to focus on making the iPad an even better fit for doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals with a new case that’s designed specifically for medical environments.
A team of researchers have discovered that the software used to analyze images of the brain gives significantly different results depending on whether it’s used on a Mac or PC. It means the measurements gathered on one machine can be up to 15% different than those gathered on another — using exactly the same images — which is a serious issue that medical professionals and developers need to fix… fast.
Healthcare has been a natural fit for the iPad and, to a slightly smaller extent, the iPhone. iOS devices can provide interaction with electronic records and other patient information as well as offer access to reference guides, medical images like X-rays, and even remote diagnoses via FaceTime.
A new program being tested in California’s Marin County aims to bring some of those abilities to paramedics in the field. The program, which equips paramedic teams with iPhones via a specialized QR reader app, is a joint venture with Silicon Valley startup Lifesquare. Its aim is to allow paramedics instant access to patient information using QR codes stickers.
The iPad is already a big hit with the healthcare industry. A new pilot project being run by Veterans Affairs Department could encourage the iPad to be used as a longterm home care solution as well. As part of the agency’s Family Caregivers program, the VA will deploy 1,000 iPads to family members of veterans suffering from injuries and disorders associated with military deployments after 9/11.
The VA program was created to help disabled veterans remain at home with loved ones providing personal care. It already provides a range of important resources for caregivers including a monthly stipend, travel expenses for care-related activities, health-related training, counseling services, and respite care.
The iPad’s design and capabilities have always made it intriguing option for doctors and other healthcare providers. Shortly after Apple launched the iPad two years ago, technophile doctors began bringing them into their offices and a number of hospitals began launching pilot programs centered around it.
That initial burst of interest and enthusiasm hasn’t slowed in the slightest according to a new report from Manhattan Research. In fact, iPad use by U.S. doctors has nearly doubled in the past year and adoption is set to continue at a meteoric rate over the next twelve months.