Vesalius, Hooke, Hood and Steve Jobs

Has Steve Jobs and his company altered the practice of medicine as significantly as VesaliusHookeHood and other giants in the field?

A radical supposition perhaps. One that I am not altogether comfortable with. Yet there is no denying the impact of the technologies adopted as a result of his touch.

Medical practitioners these days employ easy to use mobile/connected devices to learn, to stream, to take CME,  or monitor patients, prescribe, ensure compliance, download and consume digital media, or just communicate and collaborate more robustly. Even crowd sourcing solutions to medical conundrums has become a concept mainstream institutions are embracing.

That the world’s data more and more exists in the palm of your hand – instantly accessible from the office to the operating room to any remote corner of the world – is due in large measure to devices and markets either pioneered by or made user friendly by Steve Jobs and Apple.

Heightening the level and rate of electronic exchange does not necessarily mean change for the better in regards to patient care. It is still unclear whether individual patients will enjoy improved diagnosis and treatment as the gradual shift in practice from medical clinician to technician evolves.

Historians will long debate the role of this rock star CEO and his company as they helped shift paradigms in all sectors of our economy – from media to manufacturing to healthcare.

That we are all wirelessly wired in more unforeseen ways everyday is not all due to Jobs and his company. Not by a long shot.

My perception of Jobs’ visiondecision making ability, consumer usability perspective, sense of design, strength of convictionability to assemble a great staff, and  relentlessness has propelled him and his firm – coincidentally bearing the same name as the forbidden fruit and as well asBeatle’s record label – to an exalted folkloresque place in corporate America.

I think I forgot communicate in that list, above. Jobs had a unique ability to communicate his vision as well.

I say this not personally owning any Apple products.

I am a late, rather than early adopter, deploying the appropriate tool for the job after the cost curve starts driving downward and market penetration has happened.

I can admire  beautiful design and best in class features and functionality. If I get most of the same for half the price – that is generally the way I go. You are not likely to find me sitting outside on the sidewalk waiting for the latest release at midnight.

But these are my biases.  Clearly there are enough Apple-ites to spur entire Apple store knock-offs in China, and propel the company to #1 on the Market Capitalization Charts – briefly unseating Exxon as the world’s most valued company – worth more than the top 32 banks in the EuroZone!

Not bad for a business started in a garage. For a guy fired from his own start-up.

Perhaps new collaborative techniques enabled by technology his company helps mainstream will sustain his energy and creativity as Jobs transitions to the next phase of his life.

Alex Epstein is currently SVP of Production, Programming and Editorial at ReachMD – a medical information and education service that includes XM160 – the only nation-wide broadcast channel for medical professionals. A graduate of Bennington College and the Yale School of Management, Alex got his start in broadcast TV and radio in Fairbanks, Alaska. His experience includes 10 years in LA writing and producing broadcast and syndicated TV for a variety of high profile outlets. He transitioned to creating corporate, association and educational content and messaging in all its evolving forms after moving to Chicago. His personal blog is Viewser – digital streams of consciousness, where this post first appeared.