Along with millions of others, earlier this week, I watched a very frail looking Steve Jobs address attendees at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. In addition to demonstrating new operating systems for the Mac and the iPhone/iPad, Apple announced the new iCloud service.
When demonstrating iCloud, Steve Jobs said, “Keeping devices in synch is driving all of us crazy.” He was referring to music, photos, documents, and other digital media that individuals might store. What is interesting to note is that the process of synchronization is completely automatic, and information on one device is automatically updated on all devices synchronized with other devices using iCloud. Changes on any device are pushed to all other devices.
Jobs makes an interesting observation. We take it for granted these days that our telephones are able to take photographs, play music, browse the web, read documents, and a multitude of other functions. Gone are the days when a phone was a phone and you needed a separate camera to take photos or video. Now, one device does everything.
Think of the iCloud service in terms of medical information. As a clinician, what drives me crazy is reconciliation of medical data. I send a patient to see a specialist, and they stop one or more meds and start two new medications. I receive a consult letter and have to manually go into the EMR and update the medications to ensure that the medication list is accurate and up to date. What a painful process. Would it not be great if the medication changes were pushed into a secure “cloud” and automatically updated the medications list in my EMR? I realize this is simplistic and we have to deal with multiple providers and multiple devices, not all of which can speak to one another. However it is a great concept to aspire to.
Perhaps medication changes from multiple providers are not a good example, but it would certainly make sense if I had an app on my phone that allowed me to E-prescribe medications directly to a pharmacy and my own prescriptions automatically updated the patient’s medication profile in my EMR. At least these two software applications should work together.
What do you think? Could an iCloud type service work in healthcare? What would you want to have automatically synchronized with your EMR?
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