What would make the ultimate Smartphone for a Healthcare Professional?

Mobihealthnews has an interesting report on smartphone adoption by Physicians in the USA. Whilst my gut tells me it’s a little too high, according to Manhattan Research, 72% of US Physicians are already using Smartphones.

What better opportunity to list the key attributes that I think a device maker should pack if they want to dominate the Healthcare Smarphone market:

1) Ability to be sterilised (or at least cleaned) and a bit of drop/scratch resistance!

2) Locking application (that can run in the background) and a Forward Facing Camera and Voice Recognition for User Authentication

3) Preinstalled Content and plenty of memory (for all your text books, CME and the Harley Street TV made-for-mobile Videos you want to share with your patients!)

5) HD Voice and Video Calling (the closer you are to someone the better the communication)

6) High Quality Camera/Video Recorder (for updating patients Multimedia Health Record)

This is the Nokia N8 – the device that is currently setting the benchmark packing a 12 megapixel camera, Carl Zeiss optics, Xenon flash and Autofocus.

7) Secure Cloud-Based Voice Recognition Application (for transcribing, sending notes/emails etc)

So who’s best placed to get this to market first? I wouldn’t want to bet against the $3.6 Billion R&D budget of HP (the newest smartphone maker) to fill this gap…

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10 Responses to What would make the ultimate Smartphone for a Healthcare Professional?

  1. bart says:

    Very nice overview!
    Ruggedized should indeed be on N°1! (Gorilla glas as req?)
    Interesting you are choosing voice control in favor of touch control
    Maybe add:
    1) Connectivity 1: Open source OS?
    2) Connectivity 2: Bluetooth? zigbee? rfid? ant? …
    3) Connectivity 3: HSDPA, WiFi b/g/n, 4G ready, …
    4) Battery life!
    5) GPS! (or other tracking)

  2. Thanks for your comment Bart,

    It’s not just the ruggedised element. The problems of community acquired infections and the use of modern infection control measures means that staff mobiles are the dirtiest equipment used in a modern hospital.

    I love touch but the voice allows new use cases – like PTT and lapel fixing of the device etc etc (some of the things your lucky staff have already got with your Ascom DECT system!)

    While I like your 1 to 5 I’d either already expect them (eg. 3G, Bluetooth, GPS, WiFi, Decent Battery – any competitive smartphone has these!!!) OR if they weren’t present I wouldn’t see them breaking the appeal of a device that had the others.

  3. bart says:

    hehe, as i pay 700,00 EUR (ex VAT, without installation cost) for 1 Aastra 630d mega-ruggedised dect-phone,
    and already 1 phone couldn’t celebrate it’s 5 months birthday because of continous drops/falls/submergings/.. and other tortures …
    ruggedising = big ($$$) issue
    I personally know IT-managers ditching PDA’s because of employee torturing.
    (BTW: the 630d has easy to clean surface)
    NOW, as ruggedising is a big issue, …
    *drumroll*
    Suggest me one (semi-) ruggedised smartphone that has all the needed features (your specs + my 1 to 5 points).
    Max battery life for wifi = 8 hours for example (if you just leave it unused during that time).
    Love your overview and clear choice for voice control, but never underestimate the cruelty of employee (mis-)handling!

  4. I agree with your concerns but think we have to take a fresh analytical look at the ways we are using devices. 10 years ago I saw Prof Darzi doing this type of analysis in a Surgical Suite and the results were amazing. Ask when/where are the drops happening? Why?

    Findings would probably be different for different types of staff and the types of jobs they do. But you’ll probably find that a smart device could predict when it would fall, might benefit from a casing/clam shell design, interchangeable lanyard, an accessory device (eg. an earpiece), etc etc

    Take my word for it – this opportunity to differentiate is so big that there will be a device manufacturer working on a solution and customers will vote with their orders.

    Do you remember the build quality of Siemens mobiles? I’d bet that if they were still in business every consumer would probably already have a phone that could be dropped off a wall into a tank of battery acid!

    Then again don’t we already have wooden phones from Sharp and Fujitsu! http://www.nttdocomo.com/pr/2009/001454.html

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