The smartphone as a tool for clinicians

Speaking to a friend of mine last weekend, who works as a junior doctor, we got onto talking about how he uses his iPhone in his work.  He showed me his ‘apps’ – a vast array of possibilities to help doctors do their job better on the move.

Examples included:

Access to the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine

MediMath – a medical calculator for working out useful parameters and scoring systems

BNF 59 – the British National Formulary

OsiriX – a DICOM viewer, to view X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans etc.

The problem with the last of these apps is that it cannot be used with the local hospital systems, due to security and privacy concerns, and equally it isn’t possible to access other parts of the hospital IT system from a personal mobile.  However such access would make clinicians lives much easier.  Even for those based within hospitals, rather than in the community, with access to nearby computer points, mobile access would allow clinicians to get lab results and other hospital information more quickly and conveniently and hence improve patient care.

There are of course concerns about security of information with mobile access, but we need to work around these issues and bring NHS IT up to date.  Such solutions are possible in private healthcare in the US, so why not here?

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