On Observer has a proposition for Apple. While Apple, if you believe the rumors, seems to be fading in and out of emerging areas like internet appliances, hand held computing, and ultra powerful desktops, Christian Loweth has identified an area where he feels Apple could truly become a powerhouse: the medical field. With that said, we are publishing Mr. Loweth's open letter to Apple Computer:
The Baby Boomers are aging. They will increasingly need more medical services. The current state of medical information technology is in a state of shambles. I assert that Apple is in a unique position to exploit this market with a complete enterprise solution to all aspects of the medical industry. Perhaps with the extra cash lying around to be utilized by Apple, you consider forming a medical subsidiary company.
Standards would be developed by Apple (or it's subsidiary) in cooperation with the medical industry in order to present a seamless and consistent experience for patients and medical providers. All of this is driven by the notion of the consumer/patient having as much convenience as possible while increasing accuracy and the amount of information available to medical providers.
Patients would carry something like a "smart card" or "memory stick" in their wallet/purse. This storage device would include their complete medical history, insurance provider(s), and other pertinent data. Furthermore, with Apple's imaging technology the device would also store or access X-rays, EKG's, CAT scans, MRI's and whatnot.
Patients going to their medical providers would simply hand their "Patient's Record Memory Module" to the receptionist and the medical provider would have every bit of medical information available for that individual by downloading it into their Apple "Medical Provider Enterprise Solution".
The medical provider would utilize an input device at the time of service to update the "Patient's Record Memory Module." This may be a handheld device that through Airport technology would also simultaneously update the medical providers own records. Additionally, as the medical provider enters a prescription, this would be instantly transmitted to the patient's pharmacy of choice as stored on the "Patient's Record Memory Module."
EMT's would have instant access to patient's info in circumstances to which they respond. Additionally, this information would be transmitted to the destination emergency room. Voice recognition software would be utilized by the EMT's to input their reports and this too would be transmitted to the destination. In hospitals, the revered "chart" would be replaced by an Apple "Medical Provider Enterprise Solution" device.
The above scenario is just the tip of the iceberg. I offer this suggestion in the hopes that it will spur further thought, discussion and development not only for Apple, but for it's developers, resellers and users.
I believe that no other company could develop this all enveloping enterprise solution other than Apple. Apple is in a unique position in that it provides software and hardware and now has the resources to devote to such an enterprise.
Market penetration for other Apple products may also be enhanced. After all, if an individual trusts his health to Apple, why not extend that trust to other areas?
Finally, using this as a launching pad, inroads can be made into medical finance/accounting/record keeping/imaging systems which migrate well into other industries as well.
P.S. Though I appreciate direct responses to this proposal, I believe it more appropriate for responses to be publicly posted.