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How Mobile Technologies Fuel TeleHealth Advances

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, September 17, 2012

Topol went on to tell the audience that he was on a cross-country flight while carrying the device. "They called for a doctor on the plane for a passenger in the back," he said. "With this phone, I could make a diagnosis of a significant heart attack, which led to an emergency landing, and fortunately the fellow did very well."

As of mid-August, the device was not for sale and its website stated that it was "Not cleared by the FDA for sale in the United States." A spokesman for Topol said that patient privacy prevents Topol from revealing any other details about the incident.

But the ripple effect from stories such as Topol's are being felt throughout healthcare, and the "cool" factor of providers developing their own apps is thrusting them into entirely new spotlights.

At the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco in June, the new Mayo Clinic Patient App— which lets Mayo Clinic patients access their personal medical record, appointment schedule, and other services—was highlighted by Apple.

With more than 4,000 physicians and scientists, a 140-year history, and more than 1 million patients seen annually, Mayo has its own team of 60 people—including designers, project managers, physicians, and nurses—working in its Center for Innovation.

"We have a declared mission to touch in a meaningful way 200 million lives," says Michael Matly, MD, director of business development and new ventures at Mayo's Center for Innovation.

"Unlike other innovation centers in academic medical centers, we focus strictly on health delivery, so our motto is transforming the experience and delivery of health and healthcare," Matly says. Mayo Clinic also partnered with Rock Health, a San Francisco–based incubator for startups led by CEO Halle Tecco. Many of the startups are building on mobile platforms.

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