It was only a matter of time before iPads and smartphones made a real dent in medicine. In 2010, Stanford announced that it would be providing the iPads to its incoming class of med students. Last year, a study by the Computing Technology Industry Association announced that more than half of physicians use a smartphone for work. The number of medical and health apps is growing steadily, prompting Apple to create categories for them in the iTunes App Store.
The use of mobile devices by physicians is expected to continue to surge, as its potential becomes apparent and electronic medical records become more commonplace. While many physicians have used laptops in the clinic for activities such as taking notes and writing prescriptions, the iPad and other mobile devices are being used with increasing frequency for such activities.
Daniel Kivatinos and Michael Nusimow saw the importance of mobility in medicine years ago. Both men are graduates of Y Combinator, which is a sort of boot camp for startups. The idea for the company was hatched when Nusimow, while taking his father to a number of doctor visits, noticed that many physicians wasted significant time shuffling through paper records during patient visits. In 2009, he hooked up with Kivatinos to develop a mobile platform to help streamline the practice of medicine for the sake of physicians as well as patients.
Speaking in a private interview sponsored by the Singularity Hub, the company's co-founder Daniel Kivatinos explained that the firm has been inspired by tech behemoths like Google and Facebook, which were founded around a hacker-centric culture. Perhaps not surprisingly, the company constantly iterates new versions of its software to better meet the needs of end users.
At present, DrChrono now has four iPad apps available for download in the iTunes store and three iPhone apps. Many of these software applications are offered for free. One such app is Drchrono EMR, which is a complete Electronic Health Record platform that complies with meaningful-use criteria. Users have the choice of upgrading to more-robust versions of the software at cost.
At present, the company is focusing on serving the needs of the U.S. marketplace, although it ultimately plans on extending the number of markets it serves.
Brian Buntz is the editor-at-large at UBM Canon's medical group. Follow him on Twitter at @brian_buntz.