Military testing smartphone health apps for combat

Military officials continue to be on the leading edge when it comes to smartphone apps and their use in field of healthcare. Next week, the U.S. Army is planning its first-ever stress-test of a series of smartphone and tablet apps in combat situations, including several medical apps.

The lessons learned could be valuable for healthcare CIOs looking to develop or use health-related apps in emergency- or disaster-related care.

After spending $4.2 million in development, the Army wants to test out--among other things--how well apps on smartphones and tablets can provide medical support to wounded soldiers, compared to larger, bulker laptops or other computer devices, according to coverage in the Wall Street Journal.

The apps being tested include ones allowing soldiers to request evacuation following an injury, and that broadcast their location via GPS technology. Another app enables injured combat troops to communicate what injuries they've suffered and their vital signs before medical personnel arrive on the scene. In both cases, the findings could indicate which type of apps work best in emergency situations, and over long distances--valuable information for hospitals testing out EMT, disaster-related or other apps.

The military will be testing Apple's iPhones and iPads, as well as Android phones and tablets, the Journal reports.

One particularly intriguing note for hospital CIOs: The army is working on alternative energy sources for power-hungry mobile devices--something healthcare users already have been calling for. It'll be interesting to see what combination of solar chargers and micro-fuel cells makes the grade, and ultimately makes it way into clinicians' hands.

To learn more:
- read the Wall Street Journal article
- check out GottaBeMobile's coverage