Lessons from a decade of Apple influence in medicine

Source: ARS Technica

In early 2008—on the brink of the second generation iPhone’s release—emergency medicine doctor Michael Omori unabashedly gushed over the digital upheaval he saw at the medical community’s fingertips: swipes on slim devices leafed pages of hefty medical books too cumbersome to tote on rounds. Thumb taps quickly summoned archived data into emergency rooms. And light pecks conjured 3D anatomy guides and pill identification tools at the bedside.

In a breathless letter to his colleagues in the Journal of Emergencies, Trauma and Shock, Omori scrolled through all this potential. The letter ended succinctly: “The future is now! Join the iPhone revolution.”

Ten years into that future, the revolution is still going strong, Omori tells Ars. In their decade of sinking into white coat pockets, iPhones have become embedded in medical education and practices. Pulling out an iPhone every now and then during a hospital shift is “basically the standard of care that’s out there,” he said. Yet, their role and capabilities continue to expand and evolve in doctors’ hands, as he and other experts told Ars. There have been hits and misses along the way, they note, but amid the coup of clinical norms, doctors await even more technological tremors. For instance, many foresee virtual reality-based tools for training surgeons or guiding patients through physical therapy, and they also foresee the coming of age of diagnostic tools powered by machine learning and other artificial intelligence. There’s also the transition of iPhones from doctor sidekicks to patient empowerment, via things like health tracking, HealthKit, and telemedicine.



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