IPhone, Android Telehealth for Health Professionals (Part 3)
Over February and March this year, we have looked at the beginnings of a trend to uptake telehealth applications for medical professionals on the iphone and Android phones. This uptake is now clearly identified as a trend, which has continued unabated. New applications for the medical community, using these mobile computing & connectivity devices, continue to be announced with increasing regularity.
During this part, we look at several more professional healthcare applications that have emerged for the mobile computing - and thus telehealth market, which were designed with professionals in mind.
The PEPID application, created by a firm of the same name, is designed as a single point of reference for diagnosis.
Containing an expert system capable of answering natural language questions with reasonable efficiency, the iPhone PEPID can deal with queries such as:
"What are the possible diagnoses?"
In each case the questions are mediated, by telling the phone what the symptoms are ,and any medication the patient is presently taking.
"The iPhone was revolutionary when it was introduced. Now with PEPID, it's become the preferred point-of-care tool that doctors and nurses rely on," PEPID President, John Wagner was quoted as saying. "Currently, there are numerous channel applications available. Some contain drug information, some have minimal disease profiles, some have several calculators and there are even electronic textbooks. PEPID has achieved the ultimate all-in-one status by including 7,500 drug names, more than 3,000 diseases and conditions, differential diagnostics, illustrations, laboratory values and in excess of 2,000 medical calculators. Most importantly though, is that it's all truly fully integrated information - making iPhone with PEPID an extremely powerful reference."
"Now clinicians can enter a list of symptoms and immediately see possible diagnosis. Things unheard of a few years ago, are now in the palm of their hand and delivered to them over the air."
5 Minute Clinical Consult
Unbound Medicine, a US firm, has created a consultancy application for the iPhone, called five minute clinical consult. Designed for physicians, in much the same way as PEPID above.
It doesn't have the same range of treatment options, but at the same time, it is not limited to the iphone - an ipod will work as well. Essentially a frequently updated - via direct download - clinical reference. It is designed for, as the manufacturers say, regarding "diagnosis, treatment, medications, follow-up, ICD-9 coding and patient teaching".
Emphasis is on quick access to information, and on an intuitive interface, with entity relationship diagrams used for dynamic menus that change according to the symptoms the patient is presenting.
Diagnosis and treatment pathways for more than 700 adult and 200 paediatric medical conditions seen in everyday practice. There is no verbose wordage on any entry - emphasising field use rather than a medical encyclopaedia. The latest evidence-based practice is incorporated in succinct recommendations for patient care.
Remote access via the web on iphone is required for the rest of the database, sadly, limiting use in less wired environments such as dead zones. The web service, a one year subscription for which comes with the program, includes a 4,600 drug database, medical procedure videos, patient handouts, journal search and cross-links for quick navigation between resources.
The trend in increasing telehealthcare via mobile phones with increasing computational power is not showing any signs of slacking off. Already at time of writing, several hundred additional iPhone applications exist for healthcare purposes. However, the great bulk of these are aimed towards the patient, not the health practitioner. These do not typically interface with a patient's official health records, unlike those listed here. As the penetration of Android and iPhone devices continues to increase, we may well be seeing the start of a long-overdue telehealth revolution.
Following the trends 2008-2009 in developing healthcare applications, diagnosis, analysis and healthcare provision based on mobile phones, their connectivity and computing power.