Learn about membership options orRegister for a non-member account
Log in / Register
Login / Register
It's hard to overstate the impact Steve Jobs, who died Wednesday at age 56, has had on technology for the past 30 years. In hardware, software, communications and design, Apple's contributions have been incalculable – not least in healthcare.
The online reactions last night – with many responses no doubt tapped onto iPhone screens or typed into MacBook Pros – attested to the far-reaching accomplishments of a man many have likened to a modern Thomas Edison.
"He changed the way each of us sees the world," said President Obama.
Federal Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra called Jobs "a true visionary."
"In some ways, his death seems like Faustian bargain – revolutionize the world with products beyond our imagination, then die too young," wrote Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CIO John Halamka, MD.
Chilmark Research analyst John Moore put it simply: Jobs "wanted to make computers actually fun to use."
That's the key. From the start, Apple has made products that people felt they just needed to have – cool and fun and exceedingly useful.
Physicians and clinicians like smart functionality and sexy design as much as anyone. And that's a huge reason why, in barely three years, the iPhone and the iPad – and the dozens of other smartphones and tablets that have followed Apple's lead – have found such a foothold in hospitals and physician practices.
Just this week, at the launch of the new iPhone 4S, Apple CEO Tim Cook noted that "80 percent of the top hospitals in the U.S. are now testing or piloting the iPad" – using the device "to access patient records, to review medical images, to administer bedside care."
In a healthcare sector that's taken decades to digitize on a scale comparable to other industries, Apple's mobile devices have been adopted in impressive numbers. The interest from care providers is immense. (Of the stories with my byline on healthcareitnews.com, the three most popular so far in 2011 are all about the iPad.)
The innovations speak for themselves. Many big-name electronic health records vendors have developed iPhone or iPad access capabilities. There's also an increasing number of iPad-native EHRs. The devices have proved their worth from the get-go when it comes to telehealth – and the new iPhone 4S (with its 8 megapixel camera and 1080p HD video capabilities) looks to be even-better suited for remote diagnoses in time-sensitive emergencies. The galaxy of self-monitoring, smoking cessation, fitness and assorted other mHealth apps in Apple's App Store have helped bring about a new era in personal health.
And amazingly, so many of these innovations are on fronts most of us never envisioned.
It's often said – and rightly so – that health IT systems should be deployed carefully, with plenty of input from doctors, nurses and other care providers.
But Jobs, the bold visionary, took the opposite approach. As he said famously: "It isn’t the consumers' job to know what they want."
Its a testament to his genius that so many people were happy to find that out from him.
Wall Street Journal technology columnist Walt Mossberg wrote about Jobs that, "the dominant tone he struck was optimism and certainty."
As the U.S. continues the herculean task of transforming the healthcare system for the 21st century, it would be wise to follow his example.
See the next page for a selection of Apple coverage from the Healthcare IT News archives.
Smart mobile users tempted by Apple (July 5, 2011)
"As doctors increasingly adopt mobile devices, this much seems clear: At least for now, Apple is king. According to an April survey of U.S. physicians, sponsored by Aptilon Corporation, 61 percent of docs intend to own an iPhone by the end of 2011 – up sharply from 39 percent at the beginning of the year. Strikingly, that's more than double the iPhone’s 24.7 percent adoption rate among American smartphone users at large."
New Apple Developments will Likely Spur Mobile Health Innovation (June 7, 2011)
"If you’re reading this blog, you most likely saw the pop-up/interstitial Intel ad that asks 'Is Cloud Computing Right for You' Steve Jobs apparently thinks so. The Apple impresario announced the company’s most talked-about offering, iCloud, at its Worldwide Developers Conference this week, among a number of other new developments that have stirred Apple fans to new heights of evangelism."
iPhone can diagnose stroke quickly, accurately (May 9, 2011)
"Doctors can make a stroke diagnosis using an iPhone application with the same accuracy as if they use a medical computer workstation, according to new research from the University of Calgary's Faculty of Medicine. Researchers say this technology can be particularly useful in rural medical settings. This allows for real-time access to specialists such as neurologists, regardless of where the physicians and patients are located."
iPad 2 looks even better for docs (March 3, 2011)
"Apple introduced the iPad 2 on Tuesday with a special event that included a video highlighting the technology's use in different fields, with an appearance by John Halamka, MD, chief information officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. 'Sometimes doctors are overwhelmed with data,' said Halamka on the video shown at Apple's launch event. 'What we have tried to do on the iPad is give doctors at the point of care the tools they need at the exact moment the doctor can make a difference.'"
Healthcare sector among top adopters of iPad (Nov. 15, 2010)
"The healthcare sector is among the top three industries seeing the heaviest adoption of the iPad for business use, according to data from Good Technology, a Redwood City-based provider of multiplatform enterprise mobility. The data comes from an analysis of Good Technology's user base, which includes more than 4,000 enterprise customers, whose iPad deployments range from one to more than 1,000 iPads."
Apple to make a push into healthcare (Sept. 15, 2009)
"It seems inevitable, given the success of the iPhone in healthcare, but I'm hearing that Apple is getting ready to make a full-scale push into healthcare. … There is this little matter of the billions of dollars in federal money being funneled into health IT over the next eight years, and Steve Jobs would be an idiot if he didn't go after some of the cash. Steve Jobs is no idiot."
Top 10 free medical iPhone apps (March 6, 2009)
"This list gathers the 10 most popular free iPhone apps from the medical section of the iTunes App Store."
Who has Steve Jobs' EMR (Jan. 14, 2009)
"Now, I don't know if Apple's CEO and public face, Steve Jobs, has a personal health record (if he does, I doubt it's HealthVault). But being one of the most famous denizens of Silicon Valley, you have to believe that his physicians use electronic health records. And let's face it -- it's hard to think of another public figure who's current health status has so captivated the business community. Jobs' mysterious health problems and his decision to take a medical leave until the end of June is Page One material on the Wall Street Journal."
iPhone 'ups the game' on health info (July 31, 2008)
"The recent – and much-hyped – launch of Apple’s new 3G iPhone has spurred healthcare IT vendors to launch cell phone-based applications of their own. Epocrates launched last month its clinical reference application for the iPhone and iPod Touch, available on the Apple App Store. The San Mateo, Calif.-based provider of clinical information and decision-making tools, which launched a Blackberry product last November that now boasts more than 200,000 customers, had been waiting for Apple to develop its new iPhone platform before releasing the new software."
Mac platform may have doc appeal (May 10, 2005)
"Jim Klein, director of healthcare technology for Cambridge, Mass.-based technology company InterSystems, says he may have the answer to speeding up the adoption of electronic medical records by physicians. Create systems that run on the Mac OS X platform, he suggests.Doctors, believed to be among the early adopters of computer technology, gravitated toward Macintosh computers for home use long before the average user, he theorizes, and they may be able to make the transition to computer use in the office more easily using a Mac rather than a PC."
More information about formatting options