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Technology changes faster than you think

How much do things change in seven-plus years? Perhaps more than you think.

According to Wikipedia, the following happened in April 2005:

  • Google doubles the storage space of its Gmail service to two gigabytes.
  • Pope John Paul II passes away at the age of 84.
  • A group of at least 40 Iraqi insurgents attacks Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison, using car bombs, grenades, and small arms. At least 20 American soldiers and 12 Iraqi prisoners are injured, but the US Army says it has put down the assault.
  • American newscaster Peter Jennings states that he has lung cancer and will begin chemotherapy.
  • Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams appeals to the IRA to stop violence.
  • Eric Rudolph agrees to plead guilty to four bombings including the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing in exchange for four life sentences.
  • Prince Charles marries Camilla Parker Bowles
  • Adobe Systems buys Macromedia for $3.4 billion.
  • Victims and families observe 168 seconds of silence on the 10th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.
  • YouTube is founded and launched.
  • Pope Benedict XVI is formally installed as pope of the Catholic Church in an inaugural mass.
  • Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez ends military cooperation with USA, claiming that US Army training officers in the country have been agitating unrest against him.
  • The new Airbus A380 performs its maiden flight, in Toulouse, France.

And smartphones were not exactly common in healthcare. How do I know this? I just unearthed the following program from AMIA’s 2005 Spring Congress:

Yes, indeed, that’s a Pocket PC, a personal digital assistant without a phone. Microsoft dropped the name in 2006 in favor of Windows Mobile. A year after that, Apple introduced the iPhone, and the rest is history.

I’m about to go on a long-overdue vacation for the rest of the year, including a week of staycation to catch up on everything I’ve neglected at home in this difficult year. You probably will see my byline in MobiHealthNews and InformationWeek Healthcare next week, but I won’t be on the job. I have a couple of pieces of multimedia I’ve put off for months, and I may get around to processing and posting them before the end of 2012. If not, I’ll see you in January.

December 13, 2012 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Medicine 2.0, day two

Travel and deadlines got in the way of me posting about the second day of last week’s Medicine 2.0 Congress in Toronto, but I saved my notes.

Something super-cool I saw there:, a “global” repository of medical images, developed in Spain and soon to branch out to the U.S. Is it another YouTube for medicine? Not exactly. Miguel Cabrer, president of the company, sees it as more like a Snomed for multimedia.

In Canada, they’re getting interactive with physicians.

Late last month, the Canadian Medical Association launched a social networking portal called Asklepios—named after the Greek god of medicine—on its site. Access is limited to physicians, but CMA online content director Pat Rich says it’s partially in response to doctors who bemoan the demise of the staff lounge.

In the spirit of Facebook and MySpace, it is more than just a professional site; physicians can use Asklepios for blogging, discussing hobbies, posting photos and even, theoretically, dating.

Rich says the CMA is staying pretty hands-off when it comes to content. He also says the association made sure the site was hosted in Canada and not the U.S. because physicians otherwise might be subject to surveillance under the USA Patriot Act. Really. This is not the first time I’ve heard of Patriot Act concerns in healthcare outside the U.S., and it’s a topic I’d like to explore some more.

Physicians in Ontario specifically have another networking option for professional issues, as the point-of-care resource portal recently added a “groups” function. Groups can create a public Web presence and also set up a private members area for sharing files and calendars. Jason Aprile, web contact manager for the government-run OntarioMD site, says there are 8,400 registered physician users now.

Dr. Chris Paton, a UK native who now is at the University of Auckland, says the Next Big Thing might just be social networking for mobile devices. He’s particularly bullish on the mobile clinical assistant and PDAs and smartphones with Wi-Fi capability. One of the benefits of Wi-Fi is that users can connect to more powerful computers, such as for image manipulation, overcoming one of the long-standing shortfalls of PDAs, Paton says.

September 11, 2008 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.