Remember when the iPod made your music collection mobile, letting you access and sort your library from anywhere? Boston Scientific is on track to do the same thing with patient medical data, via an upcoming iPhone app. "It's all about capturing those micromoments in the day—when a surgeon is waiting for the OR to be prepped for the next implant but can't sit down at a computer, when a patient's family member calls at 6 a.m. with a question but the office isn't opened yet," says Joseph Weber, Director of R+D for Boston Scientific's Latitude application. "Mobility brings so many compelling values to the system."
Latitude is already on the market as a patient monitoring system, but when Boston Scientific brought a dozen dovtors to Arizona for a multi-day brainstorming session earlier this year to push the platform further, the biggest desire the docs had was to make Latitude mobile. While currently targeted to cardiac rhythm management and still in prototype, the Latitude iPhone app lets physicians access patient records, monitor their implanted devices, tap into patient support networks, and schedule follow-up care. (For a more whimsical app, there's a heart monitoring game for teens.)
Dr. Leslie Saxon demoed the Latitude iPhone app, created in partnership with the University of Southern California, at last week's Body Computing Conference. While scheduling appointments doesn't seem pulse-raising at first, the Latitude app has a compellingly sleek interface and is useful as hell. In less than five minutes, Dr. Saxon had looked at a patient's heart rhythms, sent an e-mail to the nursing staff to schedule a visit, and alerted the patient's primary physician. "It's the kind of work that I'd find particularly onerous at 7 p.m. on a Friday," says Saxon. Boston Scientific is mum on when, exactly, Latitude will be available to free up doctors' Friday nights.