Dr. Henry Feldman is a mobile technology evangelist. He struts boldly around Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he works as a hospitalist and programmer, armed with an iPhone and iPad. His nickname is the iDoctor.
Mobile technology, he argues, has made him a better, faster physician. “It lets me do everything I could do if I was sitting at my desktop at the patient’s bedside, and actually some things I couldn’t easily do,” he explains enthusiastically. That includes showing patients impressive new animated apps, diagrams, medical records and even photos from their own surgeries as they recover.
Beth Israel, a teaching hospital for Harvard Medical School, is one of the most technically advanced hospitals in the country, especially when it comes to mobile technology.
But not everyone at the hospital is quite as gung-ho as Feldman. Recently, Dr. John Halamka, the hospital’s chief information officer who helped usher Beth Israel into the electronic world, has been issuing a warning: mobile technology also has a serious downside — it may distract doctors from patient care.