The Wall Street Journal has stated Verizon will be announcing the iPhone on Tuesday — an announcement that could have huge implications for the medical community.

I recently did a nonscientific poll of medical students and residents in regards to their choice of smartphone operating system. I asked a mixture of 15 medical students and residents who had a Verizon Android phone why they chose the operating system.

Four of them stated they liked how Android offered them a higher level of customization or preferred the platform for other reasons, nine stated they wanted the iPhone but staying on Verizon was more important, and two had no preference and just wanted a phone that could e-mail.

Obviously, these results cannot be extrapolated to a larger medical professional audience — but these anecdotal examples do show there is a segment of medical professionals that would prefer an iPhone, but want to be on Verizon’s network.

For health care professionals, the strength of a network is paramount, especially since many health care professionals spend time in rural settings or within hospital walls that sometimes do not have dedicated Wi-Fi.

These physicians, residents, and medical students cannot afford a lack of connectivity, something that is not true of the general population.  Sure, references such as Epocrates and Medscape can be utilized in offline mode, but if you want to show a patient a particular You Tube video, or want to look up a journal article — you don’t want to be at the mercy of your network.

Recently, an emergency medicine physician told me how they were at a satellite ER, about to do a hip relocation.  The resident had heard of a different technique to do a hip relocation, and e-mailed pictures of how he was going to do the relocation to an attending physician at the main ER.  Both physicians were able to collaborate via multimedia pictures, leading to a positive ending outcome.  This type of collaboration between medical colleagues is especially essential in rural settings, a place where Verizon’s 3G network easily wins over AT&T.

If the Wall Street Journal is correct, this is significant news in the medical community because of the aforementioned reasons and we anticipate large numbers of health care professionals switching from existing operating systems to the iPhone’s iOS4.

Source: WSJ