Will docs get their CME credits on iPhone?

© 2007 Unbound Medicine, Inc.
© 2007 Unbound Medicine, Inc.
Apple has sold iPhones to hundreds of thousands of people since the June launch. According to Manhattan Research, 75,000 physicians do CME on a PDA. Should any of them use the sleek new gadget over, say, a RIM BlackBerry?

iPhone’s chief benefit may be its computer-grade Web browser, something that “doesn’t set any limits on the types of media that we can integrate,” said Sandeep Shah, CEO, Skyscape.

It means any online text, image, video or audio content is accessible from preexisting online CME activities, said Steven Zatz, MD, EVP, professional services, WebMD. A Wi-Fi network in the office boosts surfing speed.

Customized medical reference content has arrived from Unbound Medicine, whose president and CEO, Bill Detmer, MD, said the iPhone, like other wireless devices, enables doctors and nurses to carry medical knowledge “wherever they roam.” This phone offers a larger and higher-resolution screen to view it (see photo).

But Flash-enabled videos are not accessible, said Robert Stern, president/CEO, MedPage Today, which offers an iPhone page and plans to support Apple’s video technology in the fall.

And while iPhone is impressive, it may not supplant the one device many young hospitalists carry, the Palm Treo, said Michael Elhert, MD, president, American Medical Students Association: “All the doctors I know, it’s not about e-mail; it’s about their drug programs, their treatment protocols…I’m not sure how the iPhone would be terribly unique.”

While vendors appreciate the phone’s wider creative potential, and its package of features is superior, adoption by the medical community will depend on other factors, including how well it provides it core voice functionality, said Shah.