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Smart phones becoming a key tool for patients—and medical professionals

If you thought that smart phones were the exclusive province of the technorati and teenagers, a recent whitepaper released by the California Healthcare Foundation suggests that health care is also avidly embracing the new devices.

Entitled “How Smartphones Are Changing Health Care for Consumers and Providers,” the paper illustrates just how eagerly the industry and public are incorporating and using these evolving handheld tools. It also identifies the most important emerging usage trends.

According to the report, two-thirds of physicians and more than 40 percent of American consumers used a smart phone in 2009. Meanwhile, the numbers of phone applications related to health and health care is growing to keep pace. The paper reports that as of February 2010, the Apple AppStore offered about 6,000 apps, 73 percent of which were meant for consumer or patient end-users, 27 percent for health care professionals.

Apps targeted at physicians include the following:
• Alerts
• Medical reference tools
• Diagnostic tools
• Continuing medical education
• Patient records programs

Consumer-oriented apps include:
• Medication compliance
• Mobile and home monitoring
• Home care
• Managing conditions
• Wellness/fitness

While issues like privacy remain to be worked out before the technology is likely to achieve widespread adoption, healthcare professionals and their patients are clearly interested. Might they be right for your practice or organization? To learn more, read the entire California Healthcare Foundation whitepaper.

Good health!
Chanin
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