iPhone 2.0 = Health 2.0?

Quite possibly.

I didn’t catch the iPhone SDK launch right on March 6, but I did watch it a few days later, and it’s very impressive. It is worth a watch, especially with regard to the possibilities in verticals such as health care. I have met many physicians in the past 6 months who have told me, “I will get an iPhone when…” I think the “when” has been answered. Possibilities such as secure physician-patient communication and patient activity monitoring with direct connect to electronic health records are now possible.

It was interesting to see this right after the Health2.0 Conference, to be sure.

Not to mention that the iPhone is now enterprise-worthy….

Apple Developer Connection – iPhone Dev Center – iPhone Developer Program


I too was quite intrigued about the possibilities for the iPhone in healthcare after watching the SDK presentation. One thing that I have not figured out is the itunes distribution part. For instance, if we develop an application for looking at a subset of Cerner data, I cant imagine having to distribute that through iTunes!

Because no one else other than the developers will be able to use the application. Why would we or Apple or a person browsing for a solitaire program want to even see it on the list?


There are many shareware supermarkets out there full of software that neither your or I have a need for, just as there are many artists on iTunes that I probably am not going to purchase any time soon.

An interesting question is underneath – in the era of HealthVaults, Googles, and data exchanges, why would an application be developed to query just Cerner data as opposed to a more population-based data source spanning many hospitals, care systems, and EHRs. Isn't that the promise of HIT?

Thanks for the comments,


As for software that is out there, we may not have a need for it now, but if we did have a need we could download it and use it. That is in contrast to software that companies develop internally that is not "out there" since even if someone did develop a need to use it they would not be able to because it would be not function outside the private domain it was designed for.

As for why develop an ap soley that works only with one vendor, I agree, it would be best to develop something that could work with any system that could output data in a specific prescribed format that could be pushed to or pulled from iphone.



Right on. I think as an example, some of the work you are doing would be useful in any EHR environment as good health care practice, because we want quality of care to be vendor agnostic.

It is great to see physician interest in this platform. A lot of good things will happen.

I invite others to post their ideas about using iPhone 2.0 in Health 2.0 applications or contact me about them. More ideas are better.

Update (from an iPhone Developers Conference) – there is apparently an Enterprise SDK license available for $299 from Apple that allows in house distribution of iPhone applications.

Ted Eytan, MD