Doctors see Apple's iPhone as life saver in 'the future of medicine'

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
While some iPhone users see their smartphones as a figurative life saver, Dr. Eric Topol put Apple's popular smartphone to such use literally on a recent flight from Washington, D.C., to San Diego.

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As Rock Center with Brian Williams details, Topol used his iPhone, in combination with an AliveCor ? an iPhone-mounted sensor capable of delivering clinically accurate electrocardiograms ? to measure the vital signs of a passenger experiencing severe chest pains at 30,000 feet.

When the readings indicated that the passenger was, in fact, having a heart attack, Topol recommended an urgent landing. The passenger survived after being rushed to the hospital.

According to Topol, the proliferation of apps that allow patients to measure and monitor their vital signs represents a revolution in the medical world. Devices like the iPhone, he says, will soon be able to pair with ingested or injected sensors: monitoring blood flow, sugar levels, sleep habits, heart rates, and more.

When one of these sensors picks up data of note, it will be able to contact a patient's smartphone, or even a patient's doctor in order to alert the physician and schedule an appointment. Such technology could cut down on inefficient practices such as mass screenings for things like breast cancer, with patients instead monitoring their own hormone and blood chemistry levels with smartphone-paired sensors.

AliveCor


The medical community is moving toward and adopting technologies such as these in fits and starts, encouraged by the utility and portability of devices such as the iPad mini, but occasionally stymied by regulatory concerns. Physicians have by some accounts, been quicker to adopt the iPad for use in their practices than they have the electronic health record systems mandated by the Affordable Care Act.

The other end of the medical future that Topol envisions, though, will be slower to come. While advancements have been made in wireless technologies and sensors, the medical community has been slower to adopt those devices than it has tablets and smartphones.

The pace of improvement in those devices continues to accelerate, though, and it may not be too far in the future when smartphone users won't have to call their doctor for an appointment, because their smartphone will have already done so for them.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 45
    timbittimbit Posts: 331member
    I love this! As a paramedic, we use tablets/laptops to complete our call reports. I wish they would get iPads instead of all these other types but its a start in the right direction. There are so many benefits!
  • Reply 2 of 45
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    The choice of a case for your iPhone is highly personal. Each case option has its pros and cons. In this instance:

    Pros: saves lives.

    Cons: limited color choices, screen protector not bundled.
  • Reply 3 of 45
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,799member
    I think doctors prefer the iPad mini by a wide margin. At least that is the case from my own observations which may be limited but provide a pretty nice sample size. It is small and light enough to easily fit in our pockets (lab coat not pants) and is large enough to easily read. My most used medical apps are Medscape and Epocrates and both of them have some pretty small fonts. It is far easier to read drug interactions for example on a Mini vs. an iPhone screen. The iPad with certain apps is a huge time saver and also helps with far better and more efficacious initial triage.
  • Reply 4 of 45
    Healthcare, there's an app for that
  • Reply 5 of 45
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    gwmac wrote: »
    I think doctors prefer the iPad mini by a wide margin. At least that is the case from my own observations which may be limited but provide a pretty nice sample size. It is small and light enough to easily fit in our pockets (lab coat not pants) and is large enough to easily read. My most used medical apps are Medscape and Epocrates and both of them have some pretty small fonts. It is far easier to read drug interactions for example on a Mini vs. an iPhone screen. The iPad with certain apps is a huge time saver and also helps with far better and more efficacious initial triage.

    I think you're right. The iPad was a hit long before the iPad (3) with the Retina Display was a well echoed rumour. Once the iPad mini gets a Retina Display — i thin 2014 is most likely — I think it will be even more valuable with that 326 PPI display of the iPhone.
  • Reply 6 of 45


    Ok, finally Apple is starting to cure deceases with their phones. Finally Cook! Now the stock can go up to 1000$. Unless of course the next version still can't use robotic arms controlled by NFC, the new must have thing on the block! (just like the s-pen, surface's keyboard, you know) /s

  • Reply 7 of 45


    Originally Posted by gwmac View Post

    I think doctors prefer the iPad mini by a wide margin. At least that is the case from my own observations which may be limited but provide a pretty nice sample size. It is small and light enough to easily fit in our pockets (lab coat not pants)…


     


    They'd still have to use regular iPads to replace those crazy-expensive high-res screens, though.

  • Reply 8 of 45
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post





    Originally Posted by gwmac View Post

    I think doctors prefer the iPad mini by a wide margin. At least that is the case from my own observations which may be limited but provide a pretty nice sample size. It is small and light enough to easily fit in our pockets (lab coat not pants)…


     


    They'd still have to use regular iPads to replace those crazy-expensive high-res screens, though.



    He did not mention viewing X-rays, CAT scans or MRI image data on the mini. Even the regular iPad with retina screen is not officially suitable for that type of work since to be accurate the high resolution monitors used for viewing and evaluating medical image data is done in a controlled lighting environment such as a room with low ambient light. An iPad mini or full size might be appropriate for quick presentation or as a visual aid while on rounds but in no way replaces the full fledged medical imaging suite.

  • Reply 9 of 45
    dnd0psdnd0ps Posts: 253member


    But... But... Android....

  • Reply 10 of 45
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member


    In related news, there was a really sick guy who walked into a doctor's office recently, and the doctor was testing out his new Android phone, to see how well it would work for medical purposes. He got the phone for real cheap, it was actually a BOGOF, and he gave the second one to his wife. The medical app that the doctor was using was also downloaded for free.


     


    The patient didn't know what was ailing him, he just knew that something was wrong. The doctor opens up his new Android medical app and decides to do a scan of the patient. After fifteen minutes of scanning, the doctor can't find anything wrong at all, so he sends the patient home and tells them not to worry about it.


     


    The next day, the patient drops dead. At first the doctor is confused, and wonders if he missed anything. After a while of playing around with his Android phone again, the doctor realizes that while using the free Android medical app, there is a huge ad that pops up on the screen during the scan, obstructing a full view of the screen, and a large cancerous tumor went totally undetected. And two weeks after the patient dropped dead, the doctor's wife filed for a divorce, because she was so furious that her doctor husband would dare to give her a POS Android phone that he picked up for free. Anybody who gives an Android phone to their wife, obviously doesn't love them anymore, and the chances are that they are having a steamy affair behind your back.

  • Reply 11 of 45
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,799member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    He did not mention viewing X-rays, CAT scans or MRI image data on the mini. Even the regular iPad with retina screen is not officially suitable for that type of work since to be accurate the high resolution monitors used for viewing and evaluating medical image data is done in a controlled lighting environment such as a room with low ambient light. An iPad mini or full size might be appropriate for quick presentation or as a visual aid while on rounds but in no way replaces the full fledged medical imaging suite.



    I hadn't watched the video when I posted. That is true and for those type of tests a smaller device like an iPhone is far more practicable. I was speaking more in terms of simply using it for accessing and reading text on  common apps like epocrates and Medcsape for example and not as a diagnostic tool. There is room for both devices depending on the needs. Certainly for older doctors, ones with poor eyesight and indeed patients as well, the iPad is advantageous in terms of simply viewing or reading the screen. 

  • Reply 12 of 45
    kdarlingkdarling Posts: 1,640member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dnd0ps View Post


    But... But... Android....



     


    Oh don't worry.   Unlike iOS, Android can be used in embedded medical applications.   It's already replacing Windows CE which was used a lot (as is Linux) in such devices.


     


     



     


    So while the doctor is using an iPad Mini to check your chart, an Android driven device will be monitoring your life signs.


     


    Let the bad jokes commence image

  • Reply 13 of 45
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member


    This is also why phones should be small, and not gigantic "phablets."  


    They are the pocket multi-device; the communicators; the tricorders of the future as it were.  


     


    Google and Microsoft have it so completely wrong with their stupid idea that phones are just "small tablets" and tablets are just "large phones," and that they should all run the same apps.  Wrong.


     


    There are two distinct classes of devices needed.  There may be a need for other form factors in future too.  

  • Reply 14 of 45


    Originally Posted by KDarling View Post


    So while the doctor is using an iPad Mini to check your chart, an Android driven device will be monitoring your life signs.



     


    The Android gets malware, killing you. The doctor removes your room from his schedule on the iPad, and it's automatically updated across all of his devices, thanks to iCloud.

  • Reply 15 of 45
    It's a good thing no one requested all electronics devices must be shut off right before landing!
  • Reply 16 of 45

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post


    In related news, there was a really sick guy who walked into a doctor's office recently, and the doctor was testing out his new Android phone, to see how well it would work for medical purposes. He got the phone for real cheap, it was actually a BOGOF, and he gave the second one to his wife. The medical app that the doctor was using was also downloaded for free.


     


    The patient didn't know what was ailing him, he just knew that something was wrong. The doctor opens up his new Android medical app and decides to do a scan of the patient. After fifteen minutes of scanning, the doctor can't find anything wrong at all, so he sends the patient home and tells them not to worry about it.


     


    The next day, the patient drops dead. At first the doctor is confused, and wonders if he missed anything. After a while of playing around with his Android phone again, the doctor realizes that while using the free Android medical app, there is a huge ad that pops up on the screen during the scan, obstructing a full view of the screen, and a large cancerous tumor went totally undetected. And two weeks after the patient dropped dead, the doctor's wife filed for a divorce, because she was so furious that her doctor husband would dare to give her a POS Android phone that he picked up for free. Anybody who gives an Android phone to their wife, obviously doesn't love them anymore, and the chances are that they are having a steamy affair behind your back.



     


    Ummm...what? Are you stoned?

  • Reply 17 of 45
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,471member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    He did not mention viewing X-rays, CAT scans or MRI image data on the mini. Even the regular iPad with retina screen is not officially suitable for that type of work since to be accurate the high resolution monitors used for viewing and evaluating medical image data is done in a controlled lighting environment such as a room with low ambient light. An iPad mini or full size might be appropriate for quick presentation or as a visual aid while on rounds but in no way replaces the full fledged medical imaging suite.



     


    At our hospitals the X-Rays are digital so do not need to be viewed in low light conditions.  Low light is needed to be able to see physical film.

  • Reply 18 of 45
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,756member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post


    In related news, there was a really sick guy who walked into a doctor's office recently, and the doctor was testing out his new Android phone, to see how well it would work for medical purposes. He got the phone for real cheap, it was actually a BOGOF, and he gave the second one to his wife. The medical app that the doctor was using was also downloaded for free.


     


    The patient didn't know what was ailing him, he just knew that something was wrong. The doctor opens up his new Android medical app and decides to do a scan of the patient. After fifteen minutes of scanning, the doctor can't find anything wrong at all, so he sends the patient home and tells them not to worry about it.


     


    The next day, the patient drops dead. At first the doctor is confused, and wonders if he missed anything. After a while of playing around with his Android phone again, the doctor realizes that while using the free Android medical app, there is a huge ad that pops up on the screen during the scan, obstructing a full view of the screen, and a large cancerous tumor went totally undetected. And two weeks after the patient dropped dead, the doctor's wife filed for a divorce, because she was so furious that her doctor husband would dare to give her a POS Android phone that he picked up for free. Anybody who gives an Android phone to their wife, obviously doesn't love them anymore, and the chances are that they are having a steamy affair behind your back.



     


     


    Lmao


     


     


    clever

  • Reply 19 of 45


    Originally Posted by MacDevil View Post

    Ummm...what? Are you stoned?


     


    That doctor might be.

  • Reply 20 of 45
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MacDevil View Post


     


    Ummm...what? Are you stoned?



    It's funny that you should ask that.image

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