AliveCor’s Dr. David Albert on Being a Pioneer in Digital Medical Device Development
In the early days in the history of the United States, pioneers were known for their bravery and relentless pursuit of the unknown. Their experiences were characterized by immense difficulty (Google Maps didn’t exist back then), monumental challenges and, well, actual trailblazing. Fast forward to the 21st century, where different kinds of pioneers have taken the lead exploring new territory. This time around, they’re striving to improve the world’s health, one digital development at a time.
One of those pioneers is renowned physician, scientist and entrepreneur Dr. David Albert, founder of digital medical device organization AliveCor. A San Fransciso-based startup with nearly 30 employees, AliveCor was built by Dr. Albert and two co-founders with the idea that everyone should be able to have their health at their fingertips. In the case of AliveCor, heart health is put directly into the world’s hands.
AliveCor, a FDA cleared medical device, is a cost-effective mobile heart monitor that turns any smartphone into an electrocardiogram (ECG) reader. With a simple case and app download, users can hold the device and get an ECG performed - on the spot. The data is immediately sent to a secure cloud site so that a doctor can read it. The information is available instantaneously for review through a web browser, from anywhere in the world. This handy video gets down to the heart of the matter to show how AliveCor works.
Typically, you aren’t going to have an episode when you’re at a doctor’s office, so AliveCor makes it possible for your doctor to interpret the readings on the spot. Who should use AliveCor?
1.) People who have already been diagnosed with cardiac issues
2.) People in a specific age range (60+) with symptoms, but who are undiagnosed and at risk
Dr. Albert is proud to say that he has sold thousands of AliveCor devices to help cardiac patients, at-risk patients and physicians easily and effectively monitor heart health, no matter where they are - even on an airplane 30,000 feet above the ground. Dr. Albert shared with us that, so far, twelve in-flight medical emergencies have been diagnosed as heart issues by AliveCor. Airplanes aren’t currently equipped with ECG systems, so this is a fascinating breakthrough. On one flight in particular, chief academic officer at Scripps Health, Dr. Eric Topol used the AliveCor device on his iPhone to determine that a fellow passenger was having a heart attack and needed immediate medical attention. The plane performed an emergency landing and the patient survived.
Coincidentally, Dr. Topol, a prominent physician, was one of AliveCor’s early adopters. He and fellow cardiologist Dr. Leslie Saxon played a big role in sharing the power of the device with their colleagues, helping it to earn respect within the medical community.
Before Dr. Topol was able to get his hands on AliveCor, Dr. Albert was busy turning his idea into a reality during 2009 and 2010. At the very end of 2010, Dr. Albert finally received the prototypes he had been eagerly awaiting. He decided to make a four minute YouTube video showing how AliveCor worked, and in just one day the video racked up an impressive 250,000 views. (Do we have a link to this video? I searched for it, but couldn’t find it. Would be helpful to include). Its online popularity provided such great publicity for Albert, major news outlets including CNN and Good Morning America interviewed him.
At this point, Albert didn’t want to miss a beat. He took AliveCor to the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, raised venture capital and moved his operation to San Francisco. Then he started developing the idea and prototypes into a business, not just into products. He moved quickly, and he continues to do so now, racing to get this product out all over the globe.
Backing up a bit, the story behind the evolution of AliveCor is a surprising one. In the very beginning, the target market for the product wasn’t people, but dogs and cats. That’s right, veterinary industry professionals were the very first AliveCor users.
Starting in the veterinary field allowed AliveCor to get into the market earlier than most other products; it was taken up by leading academic veterinary cardiologists at universities like Cornell, Texas A&M, NC State, UC Davis and Ohio State. Even today, more than 250 U.S. veterinary cardiologists use the product to monitor the heart health of animals ranging from household pets to zoo residents like rhinos and giraffes. Horse and dog tracks are also heavy users of the software, providing a nice complement to the company’s human business.
Looking ahead, Dr. Albert is confident that AliveCor will soon be available all over the world, particularly in areas where smartphones have high penetration rates, such as the European Union, India and China.
Albert shared that the biggest question in AliveCor’s future is its distribution plan. It is currently sold directly on the website, but has no formal distribution system (or salespeople). Albert plans to acquire this down the line, using different approaches to present the product to specific market segments. For example, cardiologists need and use the device differently than primary care providers or veterinarians.
Dr. Albert also has his sights set on taking the product to retail, giving even more heart health power to consumers. AliveCor will likely be available over the counter in U.S. and international retail locations in 2014.
Dr. Albert’s pioneering of AliveCor is an impressive story, and as a 25-year industry veteran, he wanted to share some advice to fellow medical device developers.
The most important thing Albert recommends that medical device developers keep in mind is how people are going to pay to use their products. As it stands now, many devices aren’t covered by traditional third party payment methods. This will continue to change as the Affordable Care Act comes into effect.
The overall device buying process is undergoing a paradigm shift as patients turn into healthcare consumers with high expenses; they’re going to be on the hunt for the most cost-effective options. It will be a new world without CPT codes and with different payment processes. Albert stresses that it’s important to acknowledge that everyone keeps talking about how healthcare payment processes are going to change, yet no one seems to know when this will happen. Being prepared for different scenarios will be one of the keys to success in medical device development.
About Mitchell Posada Google+
It used to be that Apple had lots of user experience Easter eggs in it's iOS interface, features that you didn't necessarily understand right away but later, when you were typing with one thumb while hanging upside down from your ankles made you say "oh, that's why they did that." Apple was the company that really thought things through and tested things to the nth degree when it came to user experience.
But something seems off about iOS 7. I first noticed it while walking in Chicago on an overcast day. I pulled out my iPhone 5 to check on the location of a coffee shop and was unable to make out all of the letters on the soft keyboard. I had to step into a dark doorway to finish typing. Now, remember, this was an overcast day, not one with bright sunlight that makes backlit screens impossible to read.
Using my iPhone just the previous day with iOS 6 had not been a problem at all. Fiddling with my background, heavier fonts, and contrast in the settings improved the situation a little, but not a ton.
The UI in iOS 7 also seemed a little thin and unstructured. Honestly, my first reaction on loading up the email app was "oh crap, the CSS didn't load." Aesthetics aside, the lack of chrome made my eyes and brain, work a lot harder to figure out at what I was looking.
Digging into Apple's design and developer documentation, I came across two paragraphs that encapsulate the change from iOS 6 to iOS 7:
"The interface is purposely unobtrusive. Conspicuous ornamentation has been stripped away. Unnecessary bars and buttons have been removed. And in taking away design elements that don’t add value, suddenly there’s greater focus on what matters most: your content."
"iOS 7 apps often use a tint to define a key color that indicates interactivity and selection state for UI elements throughout the app."
In short, less useless chrome and color equals interactivity. That's why your buttons look more like html links now.
Since Pathfinder builds medical device and healthcare related software, my immediate next thought was how these interface changes might affect low vision users.
Low vision users are a pretty diverse bunch. The saying is "each pair of low vision eyes is different." From color blindness to cataracts and various other conditions, what works for each low vision user can vary.
The feedback on iOS 7 has being demoralizing and in some cases heartbreaking. Some have described the upgrade to iOS 7 as a living hell. Others have described the humiliation of having to use the facilities for blind users to read the interface to them.
CAUTION: If you are developing software for populations of older patients, this isn't just an edge case. By age 80, 50% of Americans suffer from cataracts. So this is an upgraded where you will have to give some serious thought on how to handle issues for low vision users in your mobile medical device or healthcare software.
Over the next couple of weeks we will analyze some of the issues with iOS 7 and mobile in general and come up with some concrete strategies for insuring that your apps remain usable for those low vision user.
Work Meets Life for Diabetic Trevor Hess of Pathfinder
How can you really know what someone else’s life is like unless you walk a mile in their shoes? For Pathfinder medical device software developer Trevor Hess, his own diabetes has allowed him to run marathons in the shoes of people who need his life-saving software. This true understanding of what life is like for others who also manage disease has a been a powerful influence on his personality - and his career.
Now 24, Trevor was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 12. Looking back, he clearly remembers when FreeStyle, a glucose monitoring device, was developed as an attachment to his personal digital assistant, or PDA. He quickly turned to his gadget-loving grandfather to find him one. This new device was exciting for Trevor, not only because it made managing his diabetes easier, but because it was one of many things that got him interested in technology, an interest that drives his career to this day.
Trevor’s position as an employee at a medical device software like Pathfinder is a unique one. Why? Because he himself needs specialized medical devices to stay alive. This gives him a special perspective when it comes to his projects. Since joining Pathfinder as a NET developer in January 2013, he’s had the opportunity to channel his passion for technology and his personal experience with diabetes management into a variety of different software projects.
Many of the projects involved learning new technology platforms. For Trevor and the rest of Pathfinder, staying on top of the latest tools, trends and technologies is of the utmost importance. So far, Trevor has tackled Ruby on Rails and Angular (two newer technologies), and is also looking at Azure to host potential API projects. Up ahead on the hardware side: LeapMotion and Oculus.
These technologies are critical for success in keeping people healthy. The opportunity to constantly learn the ins and outs of life-saving medical devices and software is, not surprisingly, very interesting to Trevor. From continuous glucose monitors to wireless insulin pumps to sensor inputs for Arduino and Emotiv EEG, this self-proclaimed technologist is watching healthcare devices come alive at Pathfinder.
Being part of the medical device building process has deeper meaning for Trevor. He knows that these types of devices and software are built to help people have a better quality or life - and even to stay alive - because he’s in the same situation. So, at the end of the day, Trevor realizes that what he’s writing can have a serious effect on someone’s life. In his own words, “Knowing the new software technologies that I write can help people make their lives better is both rewarding, and in my opinion, cool." Not many people can say the same about their careers!
While most of his job writing software is enjoyable and fulfilling, it has its share of challenges. Writing medical device software that can affect someone else dramatically makes him think very hard about his trust in his own devices. He knows that one flaw in the software he writes could lead to serious consequences. As a result, Trevor is dedicated to ensuring his software is invulnerable to flaws.
Trevor also realizes that he will face many challenges in his career. While he hasn’t developed a Food and Drug Administration project yet, he knows it can sometimes be a daunting process. Luckily, he’s learned from his colleagues that being part of Pathfinder means he will have the opportunity to learn more about FDA regulations as his role expands. Pathfinder provides a library of documentation for its employees to learn about the FDA process and regulations. In addition, employees who have significant experience in creating FDA products are ready and willing to mentor those lower down the ladder who are less experienced with the FDA’s ins and outs.
FDA projects will pop up for Trevor down the line, but data security is another area that is of concern to him and to Pathfinder. As medical devices and software become more widely used, security for the mountains and mountains of healthcare data they generate is a critical aspect of their development.
While he has his eyes on what’s next in medical device software development, Trevor lives with diabetes day-in and day-out, wondering what could make his life easier. For him and millions of other diabetics, convenience is key. For instance, Trevor would love “to have a subcutaneous device to monitor my blood sugar without extra testing, that either communicates with a pump or distributes insulin itself. A true artificial pancreas. The current devices just aren't enough.”
The daily routine of being a diabetic has long been part of Trevor’s identity. So has his love, passion and drive for new technology. Together, these traits help him dedicate his days at Pathfinder to creating life-saving and life-changing medical device software for people who need it the most. One day, his work just might change his life as well.
About Mitchell Posada Google+
The new FDA rule requires approval for certain types of medical apps. If you’re a physician or in a medical office practice you might be asking yourself how might this impact you. Will you be discouraged from using or recommending to patients or fellow clinicians the use of mobile applications? If you’re participating in telemedicine might you be affected by what’s happening in the world of medical apps? Will it be a plus for doctors who want to use mobile apps to monitor BP, blood sugar etc.?
Q1: How will this impact physicians in office practice?
A: Should not have major impact.
Q2: Will it discourage doctors from using mobile devices to educate their patients?
A: No. The big things that doctors care about is proof of effectiveness, proof that their peers buy into. FDA clearance is a type of proof, but this is not mandated here.
Q3: Will it slow down the implementation of telemedicine services?
A: No. This provides certainty, and very much limits the scope of what the FDA regulates, rather than expands it. They have regulated software for over 20 years, and mobile apps are software. They've chosen to use discretion and not demand clearance for a lot of things that they can.
Q4: Will it be a plus for doctors who want to use mobile apps to monitor BP, blood sugar etc.?
A: I don't think it has much effect. The big effects are more on reimbursement. Something that is cleared or approved by the FDA is much more likely to be reimbursed by CMS, which drives a lot of reimbursement from private insurance as well. Those drivers haven't changed.
Doctors offices that want to use mobile apps can and will, but cannot purely rely on FDA clearance to do so. This opens the door for other "Seals of approval."
November 1 kicks off COPD Awareness Month, so we caught up with David Van Sickle, PhD, CEO and founder of Propeller Health (formerly Asthmapolis).
COPD is one of the top three causes of death in the US and Propeller just expanded their mobile platform to tackle both asthma and COPD.
Where did the idea for Asthmapolis, now Propeller Health, come from?
Better understanding of asthma has been the focus my entire career. I’m a medical anthropologist and asthma epidemiologist by training, and I worked as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studying asthma outbreaks.
I got frustrated with the gap between what we knew about managing and treating asthma, and what we were actually able to achieve. So I started tinkering with putting sensors on asthma inhalers, and now 3 years later, we have an FDA-cleared platform that helps reduce the cost of treating asthma and COPD by eliminating unnecessary hospitalizations, ED visits and office visits.
With that positive track record for asthma, our health care provider and payer clients approached us about expanding our approach for other chronic respiratory diseases -- and Propeller Health was born. We’re starting with COPD, since asthma and COPD are the 5th and 6th most costly conditions in the US.
What are the big problems you face and how will you solve them?
Respiratory diseases, namely asthma and COPD, are incredibly burdensome for individuals and the people who care for them. They affect 25 million and 14.8 million Americans, respectively, and their combined annual healthcare cost in the US is over $100 billion, mostly due to unexplained patterns of exacerbations that result in a lot of preventable healthcare utilization.
People with asthma and COPD struggle to create an accurate record of their symptoms, triggers and medication use. The gold standard has been paper diaries that frankly are often forgotten or fabricated. As a result, physicians have too little information to know how their patients are doing between visits.
So the three ways we reduce the burden on people with asthma and COPD is by:
- Gathering this information with passive inhaler sensors and user-friendly mobile and web platforms. And we also give feedback with trends, maps, weekly reports and alerts that present an accurate and reliable picture of what’s going on with their asthma or COPD. Plus we remind them when they are supposed to take their medication if they miss a dose.
- Remotely monitoring people with asthma and COPD to help physicians identify their patients who are worsening and need additional help before they suffer an exacerbation that leads them to need acute medical attention.
- Enhancing communication between people and their doctors in real time. Members of the care team can proactively identify people who are suffering, and reach out before they get worse. This is especially important for people with COPD, a disease that often leads to isolation and depression.
What have been some of your biggest lessons learned?
Two lessons in particular have become guiding principles for our company. First, our goal is to improve health outcomes, not just drive engagement. Often the two go hand in hand -- an individual who is logging into the Propeller app daily to check their trends is usually going to be more successful at avoiding triggers and staying adherent -- but they don’t always go together, nor do they need to. Engagement can look different for different people and at different times, and that is ok, so long as it leads to better outcomes for the person.
Second, technology is not and has never been a magic bullet in healthcare. We're working with real people who have complex diseases and complicated daily lives. That’s why we pair the sensors with base stations for people who don’t have mobile phones, and complement the sensors and apps with services, like phone calls from an asthma nurse educator or summary reports hand addressed through the mail. In the end, it’s about meeting them where they are.
BLE aka Bluetooth Low Energy aka Bluetooth Smart (what the cool kids call it) has finally arrived for Android...well in a “few short months” according to the Best Practices for Bluetooth Development presentation at the 2013 Google I/O conference in May. Below are 5 reasons you should care and why this is going to be big.
5 - Standardized API
The next release of the Android API (version 18) will finally come equipped with standardized BLE functionality which has been available on iOS for over a year now. Until now, OEMs like Samsung, Motorola, and HTC (HTC is doing some cool stuff) have been providing hardware specific interfaces to the BLE layer. Third party vendors (like us) have been doing our best to keep up using them. It has lead to some pretty fragmented Bluetooth development on Android for a few years now so this is a big step for the community.
4 - Hardware
Both of the latest Nexus phones come equipped with BLE radios - for the layman out there that’s the Galaxy Nexus from Samsung and the LG Nexus 4. It’s hard to say at this point which Androids will ship with BLE in Q3 but it sounds like the critically acclaimed HTC One (the only Android phone to score a 96 on gdgt, watch out iPhone..) will have BLE as well as the Samsung Galaxy S4. These will most likely be the two most popular Androids of 2013, a good sign that BLE radios are here to stay.
3 - Industry backing
The Bluetooth SIG recently announced an Android Application Accelerator. They’re releasing tools that will work on top of the Android API that will “cut time-to-market and save valuable resources by providing everything needed to quickly build a Bluetooth application for the newest version of Android”. This tool sounds promising, but we’ll see what its all about when they release it. For now you’ll have to visit their site and drop them your email to get updates on its availability.
2 - Market potential
While BLE has been available on iOS for quite some time, we haven’t seen that much buzz in the community. The announcement of native support in the next release of the Android API really opens the door. It’s hard to swallow for most iOS fanboys but the numbers don’t lie - in Q1 there were more than 4X the amount of Android smartphones shipped than the iPhone with a total market share of 75%.
1 - Possibilities? Endless.
Sensors. Meters. All connected to your phone. These tiny devices now need much less power to operate and can even use our body motion’s kinetic energy to power themselves. In our next Bluetooth series we will be focusing on why this is going to be big for healthcare.
Veristride Takes Big Steps Toward Healthcare Device Innovation
No matter how old you are, you’ve likely experienced forward thinking like, "When the year X comes along, life will be so different. No one will have laptop computers.” Or ,“By the time my children are grown, we’ll have cars that drive themselves.” Even if you haven’t had those exact thoughts, you’re probably wondering at the very least how flying cars could be ready by the year 2015 (Calling all Back to the Future fans!).
No matter what expectations we have for the future, looking backward to see how far we’ve come is quite a feat in itself. In the case of healthcare devices that measure walking abnormalities, it hasn’t always been a speedy process, but wow, have things changed in the past decade or so.
Fourteen years ago, I was studying abnormal gaits and walking issues, typically those associated with amputees or Parkinson’s patients, among others. Often, patients relearned to walk with a limp, and they needed something to help them focus on how their legs were working. As I approached the development of Veristride, I faced a bit of a dichotomy:
On one side of the spectrum, sophisticated motion analysis labs can track how patients walk, but this type of analysis tends to be costly, and is only done in research universities and hospitals. The other tricky thing is that motion analysis labs are a very clinical environment. The patient is very aware they’re being watched and is not walking in a natural state.
On the other end of the spectrum, most people who observe patients with a walking abnormality just use a simple stopwatch and measuring tape. Or if you go to a hospital rehab unit or a physical therapist’s office, pre-marked points are often put on the floor so they don’t have to roll out measuring tape.
With Veristride, I knew I wanted to create a solution that was somewhere in the middle of those two extremes. I’m happy to say that with this product, we’ve come up with a solution that patients can use no matter where they are or which kind of doctor they’re seeing. The cost is far closer to the cost of a stopwatch, and far less expensive than the tens of thousands of dollars you needed for a motion analysis lab.
As we’ve innovated over the past decade or so, we’ve made some great strides toward making gait measurement easier. At one point, we were following amputees around and using a little notebook to record their strides. It’s funny to think it seemed so “light” at the time and was such a great idea! Then when Bluetooth came around, it changed the game by making device connectivity easier than ever.
Even though Bluetooth was great to helping us measure more effectively, we knew there were still improvements to be made. When the first iPhone came out, we were so excited! Then everyone had access to an accelerometer on their smartphone. We are more likely to analyze data and help with issues if patients have an accelerometer and a smartphone working for them.
Once we were able to utilize a Bluetooth connection and smartphones, we knew we had to implement the key features of a clinical motion analysis lab in our product. Kinetics and kinematics are the two key pieces of information that we wanted to evaluate. We used an accelerometer, a gyroscope and Bluetooth so that people weren’t really tethered, which had an incredible effect on our ability to track patients.
All this technology doesn’t come without a downside, though. Batteries and power storage devices need to be developed and worked on so they last longer. Also, they’re often too heavy for patients.
We know that Veristride and technology will continue to evolve, and looking ahead, we’ve realized that patients aren’t the only people who can benefit from our product. We believe there will be a tremendous amount of crossover into the consumer fitness market for marathon trainees and weekend runners. The win/wins of entering the consumer fitness market are significant. Not only will these technologies help prevent future injuries, but they will provide a bigger revenue stream so that we can help people who really need to take walking measurements, like amputees and Parkinson’s patients.
Older adults are another market that will likely benefit from a product like Veristride. I have a real passion for the research on how older adults are walking, and if they’re at risk for falls. And as baby boomers continue to age, this is something that will be particularly important to their quality of life. If Veristride can help reduce the number of falls each day - even if just by one fall - we can have a big impact on patients while also reducing healthcare costs.
My personal passion is getting the right tools into the hands of people who need rehab - and I hope to continue to take steps toward that goal while improving the lives of others.
Can the lessons of lean startup be applied at a $100 Billion company in the highly regulated healthcare industry? Last year, UnitedHealth Group's Innovation and R&D Group embarked on a journey with Pathfinder Software to apply and evolve our lean innovation model.
On Thursday, October 17th, UnitedHealth Group's Kunjorn Chambundabongse and Pathfinder Software's CEO Todd Wyder will share lessons learned in applying the lean startup approach to a large innovation portfolio.
- Why Lean Startup?
- The Lean Innovation/Lean Portfolio Management Model
- The biggest challenges they faced and how they attacked them
- Changing Culture and Mindset
- What's Next.
If you'd like to join us on the 17th of October, you can register for the event at:
or at http://www.meetup.com/ChicagoLeanStartup/events/110039372/
Bluetooth via Medical Devices to drive Connected Health
Check out our article on HITConsultant on the drastic impact Bluetooth technology has made possible in the medical device space. It highlights the opportunities for medical software engineer specialists to drive the delivery of the next generation of e-health software applications.
According to CDC, to reduce ill-health and death in as much as 75% of situations simply requires active monitoring and management of just a few health indicators that can be calculated from measurement we can do at home. Measurements include weight, height, waist, hip, elbow, pulse, respiratory rate, temperature. Fortunately, many households already use the tools to make these measurements. The new connected medical device creates the opportunity to up-the-ante on engagement.
Combining measurement tools with mobile devices like cell phones and tablets, and specialized software running on these devices creates a personal patient monitoring network or personal body area network. With specialized software one is able to display up to date health status, summaries, and recommendations using important indicators computed from the measurements.
Basic health monitoring allows us to create medical applications that can:
- calculate base metabolic index (BMI) from weight and height, and design a weight change target to achieve normal BMI, and calculate changes in daily calorie intake required and calorie utilization required to achieve this goal
- calculate body adiposity index (BAI) from hip and height measurements, and provide scenarios of calorie reduction and utilization that needed to normalize BAI
- calculate activity level using recordings of pulse rate changes
- calculate calorie utilization based on the estimated activity level
- generate alerts and notices of measurement and clinical events
- calculate the level of fitness from correlation of changes to vital signs over time
With enhanced monitoring of other measurements like blood sugar, blood cholesterol, blood electrolytes, pulse oximetry, cardiac rhythm, etc, we can really enhance the intelligence in our health monitoring and reporting applications to include specialized alerts not just for consumers but also for health professionals. Opportunities abound for medical software engineers to engage aggressively from monitoring of compliance with medication e.g., automated recording of inhaler administration with atmospheric pollutants and airway resistance and gas concentrations; automated recording of insulin administration along the dose, to ingestible sensors for oral medications.
At Pathfinder Software, we are imagining health and medical telematics solutions that would make people more engaged in their care, provide health professionals real time information needed to intervene appropriately, assist health care benefit managers to create personalized benefit products, and supports the emergence of new forms of health insurance products that recognize qualified-self as critical health care investment.
Can we help your project?
Send us a note maybe we can answer some of your questions.
Learn about our process here.
About Author, Dr. Nsikak Akpakpan is a Software Architect / Advisor at Pathfinder.
You can find him on Google+
According to a recent poll of doctors by Epocrates, one-third of physicians planned to purchase the iPad Mini prior to its public announcement. It makes sense, given the size of lab coat pockets and the fact that almost 2/3 of physicians use tablets.
So, what does this mean for developers?
First, it means that doctors want to use medical apps. We developers will see an increasing demand for apps that medical professionals can use in their daily practice, including apps that make use of the device's camera and audio recording capabilities. Animation and imaging must become areas of our expertise for us to succeed in creating cutting-edge medical apps that doctors use and recommend to their colleagues.
Second, it means that our apps and interfaces must scale for a variety of devices. Some surveys indicate that a majority of physicians prefer Apple products, and prefer them because of their ease of use, familiarity, and build quality. While iPhone and iPad apps currently dominate the medical App Store category, the iPad Mini should not be ignored. iOS 5 and 6 have made auto-resizing and auto-layout easier to use than ever, and there is no reason that our apps should not look good and work well on any iDevice.
Finally, it means that we need to build apps that medical professionals need and want to use. Doctors and nurses have high expectations, and for good reason. If the apps we build do not function perfectly, do not provide an intuitive and simple user interfaces, or do not solve problems and make health care more efficient and less error prone, then they will not be used.
Julie Vilardi, a registered nurse and executive director of Kaiser Permanente’s clinical informatics and strategic projects was quoted in VentureBeat “iOS phones and tablets really are the devices of choice in hospitals today. This is because vendors in general are taking more advantage of iOS than Android.”
Technology has the power to revolutionize the health care industry, but as we all know: the device is only as useful as the apps it runs. As developers, if we ignore the iPad Mini or iPad, we risk missing out on a huge opportunity.
Are you building an app for doctors or clinicians?
Send us a note maybe we can answer some of your questions.
Learn about our process here.
About Author, Taylor Briggs is a Developer extraordinaire at Pathfinder.
You can find him on Google+