iPhone has become more than a passing fancy in healthcare

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Steve Jobs and his colleagues at Apple should be blushing--and not just all the way to the bank--over the iPhone. Even now, nearly two years after its introduction, and in the throes of a deep recession, the iPhone remains one of the hottest consumer products around.

What makes me so sure? This is the fourth edition of FierceMobileHealthcare, and every one of them has had at least one story about an iPhone application for healthcare. This time around, I call your attention to a San Antonio Express-News piece that lists seven different iPhone apps to help people get and stay fit or learn about some health-related issue. (Yes, swine flu is one of them.)

Among the other apps listed are free offerings like WebMD's consumer reference, a hydration monitor and a GPS-enabled tool to help map and track running routes. For a small fee, you can download an app to help quit smoking or, if you're serious about getting in shape, pay $19.99 for iPump FitnessBuilder, which includes a library of hundreds of workout regimens and videos.

I mention this because the iPhone is no longer just a trend in healthcare. For those who can afford the pricey data plans through exclusive wireless carrier AT&T, it's become an indispensible part of the lives of countless physicians, nurses, patients with chronic diseases and, yes, health nuts. I'd love to hear your thoughts on why the iPhone represents such a breakthrough in healthcare. - Neil