Data integration may unleash the true power of smartphones

With all the mobile applications that keep appearing for hot-selling smartphones such as Apple's iPhone and Research In Motion's many BlackBerry models, you'd think that mobile apps were stirring a revolution in healthcare. The potential exists, but it's not here just yet, reports Canada's The Globe and Mail.

Some of the stuff already out there is useful for quick reference or data entry, but mostly works in isolation. Integration is coming, though. "Right now information is a bit fragmented and not quite synchronized, but in time it will all be seamless. Then smartphones will truly break the barriers between hospitals and home care. The next couple of years will be about gluing it all together," says RIM healthcare market development manager Fraser Edward (not "Edward Fraser" as the Globe says--I sat down with him this summer).

Another factor is EHR adoption. "Once the conversion to electronic health records [EHR] comes to fruition, all the groundwork will mesh together nicely so that information--including diagnostic images--will travel in real-time, get updated in a central repository and be accessible from just about anywhere. Patients for their part will be equally nimble in tracking their vital signs, educating themselves on their condition, reporting to their doctor, and keeping up to speed on dietary and exercise regimens without having to visit a clinic," the newspaper reports.

For more information:
- read the Globe and Mail story