New iPhone 4s features expand potential for medical use

By Chad Johnson
08:46 AM

It’s simply amazing that Apple iPhones and iPads continue to dominate technology conversations, despite the impressive advances of competing Android smart phones and tablets. Further illustrated in the wake of Steve Jobs’s unfortunate death last week, Apple has done a masterful job of producing products that have become part of our lives that even pull the heartstrings of many of its dedicated users.

While having a legion of followers for a product is downright creepy to many, no one can argue with the innovation Apple has produced in the mobile device market since the introduction of the iPod so many years ago. When Apple last week announced the details of their new iPhone 4s, many in the press and among the horde of Apple followers considered the new 4s release a letdown from the rumored iPhone 5 … such are the burdens of long-term, groundbreaking success, I suppose. (Full disclosure: I own an iPhone, an iPad and several generations of iPods, but I have never purposely placed an Apple logo sticker on anything I own.)
While we appear to have been spared the customary tent city of Apple fanatics camped outside your neighborhood Best Buy waiting for the chance to drop hundreds on the iPhone 5, the new iPhone 4s appears to have powerful new features useful to medical professionals, such as an improved camera and a voice recognition feature.
In an article published last week, MobiHealth News said the new 8mp camera, in combination with the new dual-core processor and increased 1GB of RAM, will allow medical providers to more easily record the physical symptoms of patients via the HD camera and HD video.
The article discusses interesting uses of the new technology to collaborate with other healthcare professionals to make a diagnosis via an app called Sermo Mobile that features iConsult, where physicians can add a photograph, x-ray or laboratory result, choose a suitable question from the list available and then immediately send it to relevant specialists in the Sermo network for feedback. If it catches on, this seems like a very intriguing intersection of social media and mHealth.
The article also discusses the potential for patients to submit photos of their ailments via MMS and receive diagnosis without having to visit a physician. Not sure how this offers much more than a simple Google search, but it will be interesting to keep on the radar.
Healthcare IT News published a recap Monday of the new iPhone features in which a mobile expert lauded the device’s optics, saying it has the potential to be used as a diagnostic tool because medical imaging will be possible once new apps become available that utilize the upgraded technology. The article also briefly addresses Siri, the iPhone’s new build-in voice assistant, which could be used by healthcare professionals as a dictation device.