August 17, 2010

Tom Sullivan, M.D.

Is the mobile internet and the smartphone a “killer combination” and stealth WMD? Part 2 of 3

I just returned from a 3 day meeting in Chicago. The AMA Council on Medical Services includes approximately 18 physicians from around the country, where with the help of staff economists and researchers, we prepare the white papers that usually form the basis of the AMA socioeconomic policy.
The physician participants are elected by their peers and usually represent diverse backgrounds and histories, but they always include a few very bright and engaged medical students and residents as well as some young physicians in practice.
During lunch and the breaks in our all day meetings, after our laptops and netbooks are left idle, I am noticing more and more how the docs are comparing all the features of their latest smartphones in the greatest detail. One anesthesiologist, who annually teaches students the importance of being active in state and national politics, sends healthcare policy articles to our listserv from the prominent news resources around the country within moments or hours of their release. A growing percentage of these articles now cover the HIT implications of ARRA and “meaningful use”. Another demonstrates how he can securely access his patients’ records from his smartphone and others show me how easy it is to write and send prescriptions over a few thousand miles.
When one of the younger residents asks to have our schedule published in “iCal format” and make the Council webpage more “PDA download friendly”, an older physician invariably comments “I don’t understand what you just said”.
To be continued…

About Tom Sullivan, M.D.

Thomas E. Sullivan, M.D is a board-certified specialist in cardiology and internal medicine with over 40 years of clinical practice. He currently works for DrFirst and sees patients part-time in Massachusetts. His expertise in the application of information technology to health care has helped to create an international standard (ASTM) for the exchange of medical record information called the Continuity of Care Record (CCR). With AMA, he was founding chair of their e-Medicine Advisory Committee, worked with the Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement, represented the AMA and helped create the Physician EHR Coalition and is past chair of the AMA Council on Medical Service.