Mobile apps popular at the point of care, but there's plenty more to come

Smartphones are so popular in medicine now that some health professionals "don't know how colleagues manage without them," C. Peter Waegemann, vice president of development for the Boston-based mHealth Initiative, tells Healthcare IT News. Despite the lack of official statistics, we think that that's pretty common knowledge to readers of FierceMobileHealthcare. We also think you, our dear readers, are aware of how popular iPhone apps--particularly medical checklists--have become to caregivers.

"iPhone-based decision support with checklists are a great benefit," Waegemann says. "My vision for m-health is that a large part of the scientific body of medicine that a doctor learns and memorizes in medical school will be transferred into decision-supporting apps a doctor holds on a mobile device when seeing the patient, and that can be easily and routinely updated as advances are made."

Although personal digital assistants have been around since the 1990s, the iPhone really opened the floodgates to development of widely accessible and usable applications in 2007. As apps evolve, Waegemann expects the technology to have a greater impact on healthcare quality. "Current iPhone apps of this kind are the very beginning of a long process--perhaps 10 to 15 years--during which the m-device will become the main tool a doctor uses in attending to patients," he says. "The benefits are better quality of care, greater efficiency and lower healthcare costs."

Waegemann also predicts that the new Apple iPad, as well as competition from BlackBerry and Google's Android operating system, will further advance m-health applications.

For more on this interview with Waegemann:
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