Tag Archives: Google

The rise of digital health platforms

Apple has gained a well-deserved reputation for disrupting industries. Witness the impact of the iPod on the music industry, the iPhone on the cellphone industry, and the iPad on the computer industry. Apple’s announcement this past June that iOS 8 (the next release of its mobile operating system) will include tools to manage personal health information has many analysts, journalists, and other pundits debating whether the company can have the same disruptive impact on the health sector that it has had other industries.

You can check out the remainder of this article at Technology for Doctors


Consider HTML5 for Your Mobile Applications

I am a client of Appletree Medical Group in Ottawa.   They are an innovative company that continually pushes the boundaries of service and technology.  Appletree developed its own EMR and is continually refining the product using their own medical practice has a proving ground.  They have also  introduced a variety of on-line services including a wait list application that allows patients to check the current wait times in Appletree’s many walk-in clinic facilities.

Recently, Appletree announced an iPhone application that offers many of the same services as their online presence.  Fortunately, I am an iPhone user, so the app is of use to me .  What about those people with a Android phone or a Blackberry? What happens when Microsoft Phone 7 becomes more popular?  This dilemma is faced by any healthcare organization considering a mobile application.  Which platform(s) should they support?

Rather than develop for a specific mobile platform, I have been pushing my clients to consider HTML5 as an alternative.  HTML5 offers many of the same benefits as a mobile application written for a specific platform without having to commit to a specific platform. Unlike earlier versions of HTML, HTML5 allows developers to write applications that reside on a mobile device and that can store data locally on that device.

In a recent blog post, Richard MacManus predicts that “In 2011, this technology will probably go mainstream as full browser support becomes available in about the middle of the year.”   With support from companies such as Google, RIM, and Apple, I share Mr. MacManus’ enthusiasm and encourage anyone considering a mobile application to check it out.


The Appletree WAIT TIMER iPhone App Now Available – Free Download

Thank you for your interest in using our upcoming Appletree SmartChart  – a safe and secure way for you to update and access your health records and related appointment information from anywhere, at any time.

We are excited to report that the number of patients who requested SmartChart was much higher than we originally anticipated. We wanted you to be the first to know that we are in the final stages of releasing the full online SmartChart system.

SmartChart will have several components that will allow you to adapt the way you interact with our system to match your medical and lifestyle needs. In approximately 6-8 weeks, you will receive an email with information on how to sign up and how to make the best use of this tool to take better control over your health care.

Meanwhile, the first mobile component of SmartChart was just released and we want you to be the first to try it!

We are thrilled to announce that the Appletree WAIT TIMER iPhone App is now available to download for free. It is designed to provide direct access to our WAIT TIMER tool, city-wide locations and directions. Others coming soon for Blackberry and Android smart phones!

This enables your mobile phone to become one of your mobile access points to our other online patient services as they are released.

When you need to see a doctor, you can now check our wait times from anywhere with your iPhone.

Take a moment now to download the Appletree WAIT TIMER iPhone App by searching for “Appletree Medical Group” in your iPhone App store or by clicking on the link below:

The Winds of Change

There is a growing debate emerging in many countries about the value of regional and national electronic health record systems, most of which are still in the development stage.  Recently, high profile criticism has emerged suggesting that national EHR initiatives in the US and the UK are going in the wrong direction.

In the US (http://www.nextgov.com/nextgov/ng_20090806_7349.php?oref=topstory) Eric Schmidt, Google CEO and member of the President’s Council on Science and Technology (PCAST) stated during a PCAST sessions that “the national health IT system should be based on Web records that patients can control”.  When David Blumenthal, national coordinator for health information technology, suggested that his office is working on plans that will allow certain kinds of communications with personal health records, Schmidt responded that “Giving me a summary … is not the same thing as giving me the record.”

During the same meeting, Craig Mundie, Microsoft’s chieft research and strategy officer said that “the administration also should focus more on how to manage medical data — including metadata to locate key pieces of information quickly — rather than on the specifics of the electronic health records”.  Richard Levin, president of Yale University, pointed out the current electronic health record systems are proprietary and don’t interoperate.  He stated “What is out there is not very good” and that “the reality is dismal”.

In the UK, a similar attack on their current eHealth architecture is raging.  The opposition Conservative party is proposing use of personal health record services such as those offered by Google and Microsoft in place of the current architecture deployed by the NHS National Programme for IT.


The Conservatives state that, if elected they would  “stop imposing central IT systems on the NHS” and instead “allow healthcare providers to use and develop the IT they have already purchased and developed, within a rigorous framework of interoperability”.  The Conservatives propose that “Patient records should be stored locally rather than on a national database, with the capability of transferring the information when necessary”.

What elements of these two debates are relative to Canada?


US and UK suggestions re: PHR vs. legacy EMR/EHR