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10/15/2009
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Top iPhone Healthcare Apps

Mobile apps are the new frontier in improving data access for healthcare pros and bettering patient care. They could be coming to your pocket soon.

"They can look up things on-the-fly, if they are in a patient room and don't want to go into their office or go online," he said. "They can do it at the point of access, as opposed to going out or going home and reading a book off-hours."




AllOne Mobile enables Blue Cross members to access their own medical records.
(Click for larger image and for full photo gallery)

The mobile apps also reduce the number of books students have to carry around. "If you ever go to a medical campus and you see the residents walking around in their white lab coats, you see the pockets are all ripping away because they have this reference text in one pocket, and that reference text in another," Patel said.

Mobile apps combine all the reference texts into a single device, along with PDA, pager, and cell phone -- with Web access, too, to get the latest, up-to-date medical information. For example, students can use their smartphones to look up H1N1 updates on the CDC Web site.

The school was initially concerned whether patients would accept the use of smartphones. It turned out to be a non-issue, Patel said. "Patients are very accepting of it. They don't think you're playing games, they know that students are using the phones to improve the clinical scenario going on in there," he said.

In the future, Patel hopes to get more faculty and staff to use mobile applications. "The younger generation is driving technology forward. We have to take a step backward and get the senior members of the medical community to jump on board," he said.

And, in an example from an unlikely source, professional race-car driver Charlie Kimball uses iPhone apps to help control his diabetes. Kimball uses consumer iPhone apps to record his food intake, as well as his exercise and blood sugar levels, on a spreadsheet that he shares with his physicians, letting him take a more active role in his own care. Iphone Apps Help Pro Car Racer Control Diabetes.

Diabetes Assistance

Kimball, who races cars in Europe and the United States, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes two years ago and was forced to abandon his racing program mid-season. But he returned last year, on the strict program of diet, exercise, and insulin that diabetics need to keep healthy. One of his sponsors is Novo Nordisk, a company specializing in diabetes care.

Kimball uses the Documents To Go iPhone app from DataViz to record his food, exercise, and blood sugar log in an Excel spreadsheet. Documents To Go synchs Microsoft Office documents between the desktop and a mobile device, users can create and modify documents on the device and synch changes with the desktop, and vice-versa, the iPhone and iPod Touch, in addition to the BlackBerry, Palm OS, Windows Mobile, and Google Android devices. It costs $10 on the iPhone .

Kimball uses a spreadsheet template designed by his endocrinologist and doctors. He inputs the results of blood sugar tests, insulin doses, foods with carb levels, along with notes on how he's feeling and whether he's exercising.

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