MacDoctor

As computing miniaturizes medical devices, our view of how a doctor conducts his or her business can also change. And will.

The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse close-upTwo generations ago we thought of doctors as carrying just a single black bag.

In one of John Huston's first screenplays, "The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse," the doctor's black bag is a key device. The doctor, played by Edward G. Robinson, holds stolen jewels in it, but no one thinks to open it.

The cliche changed a generation ago. We now think of doctors as living strictly in offices, surrounded by expensive and heavy technology.

But perhaps laptops can bring that old image back.

Trivitron Medical Systems of Chennai, in India, has outfitted a standard Apple Macintosh with ultrasound and enabled multi-tasking, so a doctor can take it on housecalls and handle the paperwork on the same machine he uses for imaging.

The whole unit weighs about 3 kilograms, or just 7 pounds.  

GE Healthcare is currently running an ad for a handheld EKG, in which a doctor seems to pack his bag with a hospital unit and then uses the mobile in a remote village. (At the end he pulls a huge cricket bat out of the bag.)

The point here is that, as computing miniaturizes medical devices, our view of how a doctor conducts his or her business can also change. And will.

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