Health care iPod?

The Boston Globe reports that the iPod accessory business has reached $300 million as people place their iPods at the center of home and car uses. Maybe this is already happening, but it seems that iPods could be used in the health care field, too. My iPod has a 20GB hard drive –enough to store a personal health record and even plenty of MRIs and CTs. The color screen is small but big enough to read key data. And why not have people record advance directives in their own words and store them on the iPod? (I admit it might make for a depressing playlist unless mixed in with a few upbeat tunes.)

A big problem with existing personal health records is that health care workers don’t know how to access them. But most people know how to use the click wheel.

PS — A quick search shows a lot of radiologists and other docs using iPods but not much on the consumer side.

December 12, 2005

9 thoughts on “Health care iPod?”

  1. I read the links above and they didn’t make much sense. They sort of said a lot without saying anything. I’m an iPod geek and work in healthcare IT, and I do like the concept of carrying around my own PHI on a memory key/portable storage device provided I knew that it was secure, safe and in the event I was unconscious, that someone at a hospital would be able to take it, plug it in and get my PHI. In a way, I already have this done on my USB memory stick that’s on my keychain – a password protected PDF with some basic healthcare information (well, scanned copies of my WHO Yellow Book).

    I’m sure that if someone wanted to get on the bandwagon and come up with off-the-shelf technology and bundle it into a nice neat little package they could make some money off of this in the next 5 years.

  2. Nick,

    We only covered the report from excerpts that were released to the public. You have to be a paying client of Manhattan Research to get the details.

    Regarding iPod PHR it is only a matter of time before someone does that. In any case, making money in PHR is not as easy as it sounds, the market is filled with dead bodies.

    As for basic emergency response, there are smart cards (, but even $20-30 cost per member is often hard to get buy-in for.

  3. I’d like to find a device (USB key) with some sort of biometric device that I could place my last 10 years of medical history on and give to a physician outside my network in case of emergency.

    The device isn’t really the key to making this work – it’s the mechanism to ensuring the data and standardizing the information.

    You know, the more I’ve been thinking about this, the more I realize that I probably am in the vast minority about carrying my whole entire record on a PSD. For serious, who’d want to see historical knee MRIs from college?

  4. First,
    How can others use it when you are unconsious if it is passworded, DUH!

    Why would you want to entrust a volatile medium with your life?
    I, for one, would rather have my info online somewhere, so that multiple people can view it and interact with it, and it is not contingent on the survivability of my USBkey during a fire for example. Put my biometrics online and let my fingerprint do my bidding if I am unconscious. FIrst thing that pops up is my Living will.

    Stupid is as stupid does.

    Trust the network.

  5. somnonaut,

    Making emergency case really work requires cooperation of regional emergency services.

    They need to be trained and supplied with authorized access codes to use for unconscious patients, even then normally getting only a subset of data.

    Regarding the network, you do not always have access in the field and the authorization issue does not go away.

    As for biometrics, once someone steals your finger image, you cannot replace it like password, cert or a card.

    US DoD, which actually tried biometrics, calls this case a “logical amputation”. Enjoy!

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