Dr. Dan Diamond

“The iPhone gives me access to medical information at the point of care. And that helps me deliver better care to my patients.”

Dr. Dan Diamond

Using iPhone to improve patient care.

Dan Diamond has been a family doctor for more than 20 years. But in a field as vast as medicine, and with so many constant advances in medical knowledge, he can’t possibly know everything. That’s where iPhone comes in.

With an application called Epocrates, Diamond can reference volumes of in-depth medical information right at the exam table. He can look up diseases and medications, drug interactions and side effects, drug prices, and even whether a particular medication is covered by the patient’s insurance.

“If somebody comes in and says they’re having problems with nausea, and I want to know whether that’s a side effect for any of the medications they’re on, it’s easy for me to look up the medications right there,” Diamond says. “And being able to do that in the exam room is a very good thing. It improves patient care.”

Epocrates also gives Diamond access to information about lab tests. “Last week a patient had a lab result that was abnormally high,” he says. “So I got out my iPhone and looked up alkaline phosphatase. It gave me a list of all of the likely issues that might be associated with a high result.” Another patient had a question about whether her husband’s life-threatening condition was genetic (and therefore might be inherited by her son), and Diamond was able to look that up, too.

Sometimes, after Dr. Diamond reviews a patient’s chart, he’ll do a quick check on Epocrates before entering the exam room. “Maybe they have hereditary spherocytosis (a blood disorder), a disease I haven’t seen for a while. And I need a little refresher: What’s the background? What labs should I be following for this patient? It takes about 30 seconds to look it up on my iPhone. And when I enter the room, I can bring it up.”

Anatomy lessons

In the exam room, Dr. Diamond also consults an application called Anatomy, which gives him access to hundreds of anatomical images drawn by Frank Netter, a famous medical illustrator. “That’s helpful if I have a patient with an injured knee, and I’m trying to explain what the meniscus is,” he explains. “I can really quickly bring up the pictures and say, ‘Here’s what the meniscus is. Here’s where your problem is. And here’s our game plan.’” Speed and ease of access are particularly important to Diamond, who sees 25-30 patients a day.

iPhone has helped Dr. Diamond communicate with some of his younger patients, too. “Kids want to know how stuff works, so showing anatomy pictures is helpful,” he says.

With teens, he uses YouTube to illustrate a very important message: seat belt safety. “For adolescents who don’t want to wear seat belts, I have a YouTube video bookmarked on my iPhone. It shows a guy who wasn’t wearing a seat belt falling asleep at the wheel, crashing, and being thrown through the back window of the car. It takes me 30 seconds to show the video, and it changes the teen’s behavior for the rest of his life.”

Diamond also uses iPhone to educate himself. With an app called Instapaper, which saves websites and articles for later reading, he catches up on medical journals and other interesting content. “That’s really cool, because I might see something and find it interesting, but I won’t have time right then. With Instapaper, I can just read it later, on my iPhone.”

iPhone at home

Dr. Diamond uses iPhone throughout the day, from the moment he wakes up until well past the time he finishes with patients. And he takes it with him on weekends, too. “I wake up to the alarm going off, and then I check the weather for the day,” he says. “At breakfast, I read AP Mobile News, and I look at the tide tables to see if it’ll be a decent day to go out and row.” On the water, iPhone helps Diamond track his workouts. “I even have an app called SpeedCoach, that allows me to get in my rowing shell and tracks my speed and my stroke count—without any external equipment, just using the technology that’s built into the iPhone.”

Company Snapshot

Beyond the Clinic with iPhone

In addition to practicing medicine, Dr. Diamond works as a consultant and speaker, using lessons gleaned after Hurricane Katrina to help inspire people in their jobs. He helps run his consulting company, PowerDyme, with iPhone. “I have an application called Daylite on both my MacBook and my iPhone. It coordinates my calendar, contacts, projects, and tasks. It creates a pipeline for each speaking engagement and tracks me as I go through the process, from booking to travel to sending in my expenses after the trip.”