Thursday, March 12, 2009

How the Apple iPod is Changing Healthcare

You've probably heard of the new Apple iPod shuffle. This thing is tiny! I think they should have named it the pico. Anyway, when I saw the announcement for this new iPod, I started thinking about the different ways that the iPod has changed healthcare.

First, doctors and other healthcare professionals are using iPods and other MP3 players to participate in audio continuing medical education (CME) activities. Most of these come in the form of podcasts, but some are straight MP3 audio or MP4 video files that you can load on your iPod. Clinicians are now listening to medical education while they exercise, while they drive, and when they travel on planes. iPods have made it so easy to carry volumes of audio medical education on a tiny little device.

There's another way that the iPod has changed healthcare. Patients now have access to audio (and video) health information. Doctors, nurses, and hospitals are releasing audio podcasts programs that are very popular among patients. They are learning more about their own conditions and this patient education is leading to better self-management. Self-management is critically important in for conditions like diabetes and heart failure.

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