The highly anticipated Apple Watch opened to the public last week for pre-order, drawing nearly 1 million people to place an order for the wearable gadget. The cutting edge device not only presents a new fashion statement for the tech-centric, but it also opens the door for innovative software development for its users. Doctors can expect great things to come from the iWatch, which will help with point of patient care services and overall daily efficiencies.
Accessing and sharing medical information from a watch during a patient visit is certainly less intrusive than a computer, tablet, or smartphone. And although smartphones are continuing to grow in physical size each year, they still seem to get lost in our bags, backpacks, cars, hospital rooms… you name it, you can probably lose a phone in it. The smartwatch changes everything because it’s always accessible and far less cumbersome. Doctors can dictate into the device to record information, make calls, and send messages (secure messages, of course.) The Apple Watch has the potential to transform the way HIPAA compliant messages are sent and received.
The new app interface also opens the floodgates for iWatch apps - both from current apps syncing to the device, and brand new smartwatch apps altogether. App notifications and alerts will come through the watch and vibrate or tap you on the wrist, making reminders more powerful and less likely to be missed or ignored. It could actually help doctors stay on schedule! The Apple Watch doesn’t have a camera (yet), but users can display photos and medical images on demand.
Apps that already allow doctors to easily access medical information from their mobile devices can link their app to the watch for an even more mobile and hands-free option. Doctors could track their patient list, pull drug information for dose guidelines, capture their patient encounter charges, dictate patient orders, and even document their notes, all from their wrist. The potential for the Apple Watch for health care providers is powerful and the onus is on medical software companies now to utilize the innovative technology that Apple has developed.