When Apple’s iPad first appeared medical professionals worldwide quickly adopted it to replace bulky case notes and poor PM systems. Now there’s a new trend of doctors migrating to Macs in their practice, with help from the newly-updated MacPractice practice management software for Macs, iPads and iPhones.
4,000 medical practices already use Apple technologies at their surgeries, mostly running MacPractice practice management and clinical software for Macs, iPads and iPhones which provides them with the tools they need to run their practise.
The software was updated today to meet the stringent regulatory demands of US medical, including secure HIPAA-compliant communications and faxing tools, integrated online patient services and more.
“With MacPractice MD, patients can use iPads as well as our integrated online patient services to enter demographics and clinical information,” explained Mark Hollis, MacPractice co-founder and CEO. “Also, doctors and assistants can review patient-entered structured data, visit notes and images on an iPad with their patient.”
Chiropractor, Dr. Darryl Roundy observes: “Five years ago [before deploying Macs in his practice] everything was disjointed, we had MRIS in one place, X-rays in another – MacPractise combines them all.”
Reliability is key, Roundy says: “In the five years I’ve had Macs in the office I’ve never had to rebuild a system, I’ve never come across a virus in the wild… I look at colleagues using PCs and they are spending thousands just making their PCs work properly.” You’ll find similar user recommendations from across the growing US Mac using medical community.
To be fair we've seen signs of a Mac migration for years, even in 2011 Dr. John Halamka, chief information officer at Beth Israel Deaconess, said the iPad would "change the way doctors practice medicine.''
Today and we’re only now at the beginning of experiencing the potential of digital devices to transform the health industry. Take a look at those extensive ResearchKit studies seeking fresh insights into debilitating conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. (Over 75,000 people have enrolled in iPhone-based health studies to date).
According to the AHA, 20 percent of Americans use some type of tech to track their health. This will inevitably increase as new sensors appear to track key metrics such as blood glucose levels become standard fitting in future smartphones (and they will).
With a Mac in the surgery, an iPad in the operating room and an iPhone in most patient’s pockets it seems likely the next big change we’ll see is that patient data will be automatically shared with doctors.
One step beyond
In the case of MacPractice I can imagine a day when up-to-the-minute patient data being added to their records where potentially harmful changes in condition will be automatically recognized, flagged up on the doctor’s Mac, iPad or iPhone, and medical intervention or virtual consultation will automatically be initiated. (Add a little anonymity and big data analysis and it should be possible to identify health trends we’ve never spotted before).
The logical future of connected health extends from the device on your wrist to the electronic health record at your medical professional’s office. The signs are clear – nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of doctors have recommended an app or wearable device across the last year (Ipsos-Mori research). And around 80 percent of doctors believe health and lifestyle apps will be part of future medical care.
Despite the potential for good privacy advocates and medical pros alike fear the potential for corporations to abuse the power of these insights: even today 40 percent of doctors do not trust apps developed by pharmaceutical firms, claims Ipsos-Mori.
Google+? If you use social media and happen to be a Google+ user, why not join AppleHolic's Kool Aid Corner community and join the conversation as we pursue the spirit of the New Model Apple?
Got a story?Drop me a line via Twitter or in comments below and let me know. I'd like it if you chose to follow me on Twitter so I can let you know when fresh items are published here first on Computerworld.