Steve Jobs’ Legacy to the Medical Community
Steve Jobs has become synonymous with tech gadgets like iPhone, iPod and iPad which are primarily communication devices but he also left a legacy to the health care community that others may not know. Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod touch are communication gadgets but they are more than that for the healthcare community as Steve Jobs’ innovations have revolutionized the medical practice and the relationship between doctors and patients.
These gadgets may not have been meant as medical products but all of these mobile devices, including all the health applications designed specifically for them, have altered how the medical community - doctors, nurses, other healthcare workers – delivers care to their patients. The most basic function of these gadgets are for communication and in the hospital setting this would mean sharing visual information in order that patients better understand prognosis, conditions and options. One author said it perfectly when she tweeted:
“Hospital systems, nurses, physicians, medical offices, and patients are interacting differently due to one man’s vision of technology as the ultimate enabler.”
How it helps medical professionals
These mobile gadgets plus applications have made it easier for medical professionals to explain to their patients their medical conditions and the medical images available through the devices make it more real. We all know how much easier it is for us to comprehend things when we can see it with our own eyes. These mobile devices have also improved how efficiently the doctors and other healthcare workers perform their jobs since these gadgets have made it possible for them to enter, access, and share clinical data and the electronic medical record (EMR) even when they are not in their desks. These devices certainly has made it easy for them to work in partnership with their parents in finding better solutions for their conditions as well as make better medical decisions.
People are basically visual by nature, I don’t know about other you but I find it easier to understand medical explanations better when both I and my doctor are looking at it as she explains. With no medical background, except what my sister- who is a nurse - shares with me, medical terms are hard to understand. But seeing what it is, what it looks like, as well as all the possibilities makes it easier for me to comprehend. If the doctor is looking at the laptop while explaining then it doesn’t become personal and patients usually gets lost in all the medical jargon.
The iPad allows the doctor and the patient, even the family, the opportunity to look at it at the same time. The iPad and the other gadgets become medical products simply because it makes explaining x-rays and lab tests more conveniently. There is now a favorable situation that will bring about the much needed connection and sharing doctors and patients should have. And because these highly technical gadgets have been made user-friendly even those with limited IT knowledge can manage it and use it for their needs. And Apple continues to make it easier for the healthcare professionals to look and find the health applications for their iPhones and iPads as they launch a new section in the AppStore that’s specifically for the healthcare professionals.
Apps for Healthcare Professionals
According to iMedicalApps.com, an independent online medical publication that reviews mobile medical technology and applications, Medscape - the app developed by WebMD - is considered to be the number one downloaded medical app since 2009 . Physicians, medical students, and other healthcare workers should have Medscape because it is one of the most complete and comprehensive drug reference with drug interaction checker, disease and condition reference and treatment guide, procedures manual, medical news content, and CME activities, directory references and functions. It used to be available in iPhone only but has since been made available in iPads the difference mainly in the navigation and user interface of the app.
There are thousands of medical apps for these mobile devices it would astound anybody. It is completely mind boggling that the free content available in thousands of books can be made available in such a small device. I found that there are thousands of medical apps for the iPhone, such as the prescription medical reference app Micromedex, New England Journal of Medicine, Epocrates, Free Medical Calculators, Radiology 2.0 and many more.
On the other hand, the iPad has several great apps, like the eye chart on iPad, but iMedicalApps believe that though Apples tried to categorize the different med apps on iTunes with their Apps for Healthcare Professionals, they missed out on some extremely useful apps. The apps were not separated according to specialties or even by broad medical professions making it more difficult to find the app that they would really need. Still, these medical apps on iPad would be of huge help if only the person would know which one is best to download. Amazing that they need not bring or consult several books because the iPad is so handy, they can even put it in the pockets of their lab coats. And these medical products are formidable resource for everyday use in patient care. Aside from that, when Apple raised the bar for camera phones, they made it easier for patients to record physical symptoms which in turn they can send to their doctors. But more importantly, the iPhone can be used in ophthalmic surgery and reconstructive foot surgery which they can also show their patients again making it easier for the patients to make medical decisions.
In one of their keynotes, CEO of Apple Tim Cook announced that over 80% of hospitals in the US are now testing or piloting iPad. Even medical schools are implementing an iPad curriculum.
And all this is Steve Jobs legacy to the medical community through his genius.
See some of the Steve Jobs legacy at work.
The first video shows how one medical application allows an ob-gyne monitor his patient’s contractions making the mother more comfortable even in his absence. The next video shows how the iPad can be used in electric medical records and in this case as a virtual medical office with complete applications including patients list and all information per patient with allergies, and many more. At first I really could not believe the capability of the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch until I saw it being used in a surgery.
iPad allows monitoring of patients, even expectant moms
Virtual Medical Office for iPad
Learn about Steve Jobs legacy to the medical community
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All images from iMedicalApps.com.