“If you could use the gesture-based way of manipulating images on the iPhone and actually manipulate a stack of X-rays or CT scans, that would be a huge selling point,” - says Adam Flanders, director of informatics at Thomas Jefferson University.
The reason why mobiles couldn’t handle high-res images before is they had lack of processing and memory power. But iPhone is different. With its powerful ARM processor and 8 GB/16 GB of memory it’s well suited for such tasks. And the iPhone's new business-friendly security features may ease privacy fears, physicians say, and could even turn the device into an indispensable medical tool if hospitals OK the device.
“The real beauty of the iPhone is that it offers a richer 3-D experience and more memory,” says Michelle Snyder, vice president of marketing and subscription services at Epocrates.
Tech-savvy doctors have been speculating about the iPhone's medical potential long before Apple shipped its first unit. But the lack of native application support has meant that, up to now, all iPhone applications had to work through the phone's Safari web browser. That's a nonstarter for most medical applications because it demands constant connectivity (either via WiFi or an AT&T cellular data network) and prevents application developers from using the device's full processing power.
The only problem of this novelty is its privacy. And here comes a question: Can hospitals guarantee patient privacy when data is being stored or accessed on iPhones? And can the popular handset stand up to the rigorous demands of a busy hospital environment?
P.S We will see it when the new version 2.0 of the iPhone's firmware becomes available, this June.