As has been well documented here and elsewhere, Apple's devices have seen impressive adoption among healthcare professionals. iPhones, iPods, and iPads have -- along with other mobile devices -- served as useful mobile platforms for health-related apps and services for general consumers, too.
Recently, in the days following the memorial service for Apple founder Steve Jobs and the publication of his biography, a handful of fleeting references to Jobs' views on the future of medicine have emerged along with a glimpse if his vision for Apple's role in it.
One of the passages in Walter Isaacson's recently published biography of Steve Jobs quotes the former CEO as envisioning Apple's iCloud as a place where people might store their medical data:
"We need to be the company that manages your relationship with the cloud—streams your music and videos from the cloud, stores your pictures and information, and maybe even your medical data," Jobs told Isaacson. "Apple was the first to have the insight about your computer becoming a digital hub. So we wrote all of these apps—iPhoto, iMovie, iTunes—and tied in our devices, like the iPod and iPhone and iPad, and it’s worked brilliantly. But over the next few years, the hub is going to move from your computer into the cloud. So it’s the same digital hub strategy, but the hub’s in a different place. It means you will always have access to your content and you won’t have to sync."
Jobs' sister, the exceptionally eloquent author Mona Simpson, said in her eulogy for her brother that Jobs sketched re-designs for various things found in his room at the ICU.
"Intubated, when he couldn’t talk, he asked for a notepad," Simpson said. "He sketched devices to hold an iPad in a hospital bed. He designed new fluid monitors and x-ray equipment. He redrew that not-quite-special-enough hospital unit. And every time his wife walked into the room, I watched his smile remake itself on his face."
Isaacson quotes Jobs comparing the current opportunity for new innovations in medicine to the time period back when he first began working in personal computers. Jobs said his son had taken an interest in medical research:
“One of the very few silver linings about me getting sick is that Reed’s gotten to spend a lot of time studying with some very good doctors,” Jobs said. “His enthusiasm for it is exactly how I felt about computers when I was his age. I think the biggest innovations of the twenty-first century will be the intersection of biology and technology. A new era is beginning, just like the digital one was when I was his age.”