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Interconnected Medical Apps Of The Future

health 2.0 masthead.jpgAt this past October’s Health 2.0 meeting in San Francisco, many great new ideas about the future of healthcare were presented with a special emphasis on technology. For a great overview check out the keynotes by Jeff Goldsmith & Tim O’Reilly. The conference, organized by Matthew Holt & Indu Subaiya started in 2007 and bills itself as the “the leading showcase of cutting-edge technologies in healthcare.” Those not lucky enough to attend the conferences can follow along on the Health 2.0 blog.

Besides exploring the overarching themes of the future of healthcare in general and health IT in particular, many innovative companies, young and old, gave on-stage demos at the conference. One demonstration in particular stood out for me. This was the demo by the Accelerator Apps Network which showed the future of interconnected companies and applications seamlessly exchanging patient information. The Health 2.0 Accelerator Apps Network is a non-profit industry consortium launched by the Health 2.0 company.

We have discussed before the untapped potential of medical apps that exist as isolated data islands. Here was a vision where applications, small and large, collaborate across the Internet to create a powerful mesh of services that simultaneously serve patients and doctors. From the description:

The Health 2.0 Accelerator Apps Network is a growing ecosystem of web applications and services that work together — collaborating 2, 3, 4 and more at a time, serving as platforms for other apps and as interoperable bridges between apps — all to connect and support patients, caregivers and providers.

The demo was created around a story of a patient visiting a doctor after a syncopal episode. In it, the patient’s daughter “pushes” her personal health record to the doctor she is about to see from her mobile device (iPhone), giving him access to her records before her arrival. The doctor uses other apps on his iPad to see the patient’s risk profile based on medications and another app to check her medication compliance. Using Enhanced Medical Decision’s Natural Language Processing Engine, her doctor is able to predict potential side effects of any newly prescribed medications.

The patient then uses another app to pre-register for surgery using information in her Microsoft Health Vault (PHR) which is then populated again afterwards with information from the surgery. A Shared Care Plan after surgery contains her discharge instructions, adding items to her calendar where necessary.

While large electronic health record (EHR) vendors such as Practice Fusion and Eclipsys (now part of Allscripts) have announced methods (APIs) of integrating outside applications to their data stores, what is exciting about the Accelerator Apps Network is that it is vendor neutral and thus participating companies can potentially interact with multiple EHRs as well as other health IT innovators.

Overall, the range of participating companies and communicating applications, both web and mobile, was quite impressive. It will be very interesting to see what new ideas and companies will come out of the Accelerator Apps Network over the next year.

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

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