iPod goes eHealth

16. February 2007

Music? Movies? X-ray image! This software, just now introduced in the US, does it. It transforms the iPod from a music machine to a tool for mobile access to electronic patient files. And if the eHealth-iPhone does come, the electronic health care chip card has got a serious problem.

Bread and butter are nothing: When Apple spreads the latest sales figures of the iPod during one of the numerous press conferences you actually could think that the MP3 player is some sort of food. The US-company seems to have taken yet another cake with its Christmas business 2006. According to its information, the sales figures 2006 exceeded 2005 by fifty percent. A full twenty one million (!) pieces of the small black one (or white one) went over the counter in the last quarter of 2006. In other words: Round about every three hundredth human being on this planet bought an iPod between October and December 2006.

News medical field: Pod-iatrics

In view of those figures, it does not really surprise anyone, that news regarding the use of this little “wonder machine” for medical purposes attract quite some advertency. Some time ago, physicians from Geneva already drew attention with a project by using the iPod to look at X-ray images, when they were en route visiting patients. A special custom made software called Open Source DUCOM-Viewer for iPod and other Macs called OsiriX made it possible.

What the US-company Records for Living introduced now, goes decisively further. The American implemented the electronic patient record on iPod. This is based on the software Healthframe Explorer, according to the company the leading electronic health record system on the US market. Similar to Germany, with software such as Vita-X, LifeSensor or Careon.de, patients using the Healthframe Explorer can go online and have access to their personal medical data via internet and make it available to physicians or to whomever they want. And who did not want to depend on the internet, was able to put his medical data on a USB stick. That option is now extended to the iPod.

Is the Mac the future of mobile medicine?

Everyone knows that the iPod is not a graphic machine. This does not make the screenshots put online by Records for Living anything spectacular. The most fascinating about this action is, that the iPod is a carrier for electronic patient data which a majority of the human population is carrying around most of the time anyway. Other than a USB stick with software or CD, it can be used anywhere, anytime and foolproof. The last word on this has not been spoken for sure, especially since the typical user group of the iPod and electronic patient records in the internet are not really close in age. Butt even the babyboomers are getting older and many of them are married to iPod and Co. And a couple of weeks ago, we learned, that the iPod is only a transit station. As soon as the iPhone will come, the mobile record offer of Records for Living will get really hot – everyone needs a telephone. Synchronization with the “mother-record” will be done by WLAN or UMTS. And graphically it will be quite a jump as well, since the display of the iPhone is much more advanced than its little brother's, the iPod. Health IT fans will line up with those longing for the iPhone.

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