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Medical center seeks 'Holy Grail' of mobile devices

Mount Sinai needs voice capability, access to medical records

July 1, 2009 04:35 PM ET

Computerworld - Andrew Pizzimenti is in search of the Holy Grail of mobile devices.

Pizzimenti is senior director for voice and data services at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, part of the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan. His mission is to find the ideal personal computing and mobile phone device for health practitioners.

Pizzimenti said he isn't sure whether this device is a smartphone, an e-book reader or a netbook, and he thinks it might take a while to find the right one.

"I'm seeking the Holy Grail now," Pizzimenti said in a virtual interview from the Cisco Live user conference in San Francisco today. He said he wants a device that would give health professionals access to electronic patient records, but also give them one phone number, instead of the several numbers on several devices they already have.

There are plenty of doctors and nurses who use iPhones and BlackBerries, he said. "We're going to have to see if maybe it's the iPhone or the BlackBerry, and we have a lot of both," he said. The problem is whether the providers of electronic medical record applications, such as Cerner Corp. and Epic Systems Corp., will build the applications he needs to run on those devices.

Health care providers have long used a range of communication devices tailored to their industry, some of them ruggedized to withstand constant use, drops and spills.

Pizzimenti seemed to be favoring a next-generation e-book reader for his center's needs. "Some type of Kindle device will be there in five years, whether it's the Holy Grail or not... Netbooks are still not light enough," he said.

Read more about Mobile/Wireless in Computerworld's Mobile/Wireless Topic Center.

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