Healthcare clamors for iPhone treatments

Healthcare providers see a new use for the iPhone--as a doctor's assistant. They predict that doctors would be more likely to use a cool iPhone during examinations than other disruptive tech gear.

The next time you go to your doctor's office you could find them using an iPhone along with a stethoscope, analysts have predicted.

Earlier this month Apple released its iPhone software development kit (SDK), which will allow third-party developers to create games, business software and other types of applications for the iPhone.

The analyst group Datamonitor predicts this move could lead to more doctors adopting healthcare applications such as electronic health records and clinical decision support systems.

Medics have been slow to adopt such technologies--which provide patient and medical data--because turning to a PC in the middle of an examination can disrupt the doctor-patient relationship. But the analyst said mobile devices such as the iPhone can help reduce these problems.

Datamonitor said the iPhone stands out from the rest because of its functionality and ease of use.

Christine Chang, Datamonitor healthcare technology analyst, said in a statement: "Healthcare providers don't want to carry around a beeper, hospital-issued phone, cell phone, BlackBerry and Tablet PC with them as they run through the corridors of a hospital. They want to carry around one device that can do everything."