As one of the last holdouts on the planet, apparently, I bought my first smartphone this week. A Motorola Droid 2.0, on the Google Android platform and using Verizon’s 3G network, this phone does everything except cook dinner for me. The 3.7" Touch Screen and 480x854 WVGA display is brilliant and crisp, it has a slider keyboard, advanced voice recognition technology for all its functions, and if choose to I can download a whole slew of apps to its 16 gigabyte memory card. Oh, and it’s blazing fast.
How did I live without this? After a short romp through the wow factor, my writer side kicked in and I thought, “Now I know why one of our Top Tech Trends is smart phones.” As Kate Gamble explained so well in her HCI wireless story, “Trend: Smartphones,” 70 percent of physicians now carry these devices. And physicians’ expectations are skewing towards “I want my clinical data, and I want it now.” My Droid screen is so big and crisp it would be easy to even use it for quick imaging reviews. EMR vendors are taking note, and many are already offering smartphone applications. And some hospitals are indeed offering a variety of smartphone access to clinical data.
Of course, as with all healthcare technology, it’s not about the technology. A smart phone is a golden opportunity for CIOs to use a very cool IT tool to enable better care, access and communication. It’s also an opportunity to get on the wrong track by not having a clear, well-defined strategic plan for their use. No matter how you look at it, smart phones are not going away: you’d have to pry mine out of my cold dead hands. Smart CIOs better have this top of mind if they want to keep their doctors happy— or even keep them.
Now, if I can just download an app to write my next story…