MEDIA RELEASE: iPhone Has New Benefits for Health IT

The new iPhone 5s– and especially the new iOS 7 software that comes with it – has some new things to offer the healthcare industry.

The one that’s gotten the most attention is the 5s’ home-button fingerprint sensor, which at first blush might appear to solve some of the more vexing privacy and security issues with regard to mobile device management – helping make sure (quite literally) that the wrong hands don’t get access to sensitive patient information.

It seemed that way at first, at least. Then, in short order, it came out that Apple’s Touch ID technology was hacked.

Sure, doing so “relies upon a combination of skills, existing academic research and the patience of a crime scene technician,” Marc Rogers, principal security researcher at Lookout, wrote on his blog. Nonetheless, it is possible.

Indeed, as one researcher at Berlin’s Security Research Labs wrote, “the iPhone 5s’s fingerprint sensor does not only appear to provide no additional protection, its use even undermines other security mechanisms” and enables identity theft.

A much bigger benefit to health and healthcare might be the iPhone’s M7 motion coprocessor, which gleans data from the device’s various sensors, as Eric Wicklund pointed out this past September on the Healthcare IT News website.

“Drawing data from the compass, GPS, gyroscope and accelerometer, the phone works with a new 64-bit A7 CPU to track a user’s movements and activity, determining when a user is walking, running, stationary or driving, even when the phone’s not in use,” he writes. The processor will enable development of new health and wellness apps that “won’t have to rely on sensors embedded in wristbands or other accessories.”

iOS 7 has also offered new capabilities in the clinical realm.

We’ve written before about the iPad based electronic health record developed by Mountain View, Calif.-based drchrono. Back in 2011, it became one of the first iPad EHRs to be certified as a complete EHR by an Office of the National Coordinator Authorized Testing and Certification Body for Stage 1 meaningful use.

The company is still working on its Stage 2 certification, says drchrono CEO Michael Nusimow, but one of its new innovations goes a long way toward furthering that stage’s emphasis on patient engagement.

Just as iOS 7 was released to the public, drcrhono released its updated application, billed as the first mobile EHR to support the new operating system.

One of the new features of iOS 7 is AirDrop, which allows the easy sharing of photos and other files between two devices on the same Wi-Fi network. drchrono’s free EHR app allows physicians to share iPad-to-iPad (or iPhone, or iPod Touch) info with patients and with their colleagues.

The rest of the article can be read here.

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