In the past two years, there has been a great leap forward in mobile medical technology, primarily catalyzed by the introduction of iPads. About 75
percent of US physicians now own an iOS device, according to a Manhattan Research study
released last year, and they are increasingly using them professionally.
There are ample reasons why iPads should replace physician's clipboards. The iPad is more adaptable, portable, and dramatically more affordable than
the medical equipment it's capable of replacing. It's even been proven to
increase the efficiency
of resident physicians.
While Android- and Windows-powered tablets and smartphones are certainly as capable as their iOS counterparts, they haven't had as successful medical
careers. Part of the credit goes to Afshad Mistri, Apple's medical market manager. Early in his career, Mistri was an applications engineer on the
Tomahawk Cruise Missile program and now he's just as focused on making the iPad an intermediary
in the medical device market. That middleman role is an important distinction; the iPad skirts the line of medical devices since it's the apps
themselves, not the iPad, that need FDA approval to be used by the medical profession. And that's how Apple wants it. FDA classification of the iPad
would subject not just the iPad but also Apple to a set of
byzantine rules and regulations
that could easily stand in the way of innovation.
Physicians are developing their own iOS-centric devices and also have at their disposal a Mistri-developed section on iTunes for healthcare professionals that offers them
selections for reference, education, emergency medical record and patient monitoring, imaging, and point of care.
For their part, patients are eager for electronic solutions to monitor conditions and transmit information to their physicians; 61 percent of
respondents to Deloitte's 2011
Survey of Health Care Consumers in the United States
expressed the desire to do so. In the United Kingdom, there's even a list of apps that the
government urges physicians to prescribe
to their patients.
The apps we're featuring here are beneficial to both physicians and those they treat. Like medicine itself, advances are being made every day.
Click here to see the
9 new life-saving technologies for doctors' slideshow.
Chandra Steele is senior features writer at PCMag.com. A version of this story first appeared here.