Last month, we took a look through the early Win7 Phone App store and found it seriously lacking in healthcare applications. This was disappointing since Windows Mobile 6 was an early leader in healthcare apps, before they were called apps, but there was no upgrade path for developers between the two phone operating systems. Having met many physicians and engineers who were previously entirely in the Microsoft ecosystem, and were now Apple users via healthcare applications for the iPhone, we wondered how the new phone would draw users back?
We reached out to Microsoft Health PR and asked some questions via email:
Are health-specific applications, like Epocrates or Unbound Medicine, that are available on Windows Mobile 6.0 available for Windows Phone 7?
Windows Phone Marketplace offers several health related titles, including OptumizeMe from OptumHealth, three titles from Unbound Medicine (Relief Central, Family Drug Guide and Diagnosaurus) as well as number of healthcare applications new to Windows Phone 7, including My Symptoms 7, Stay Glucose to Me and DiabetesPHR from HealthSaas, which connects directly to HealthVault.
Windows Phone 7 is a different phone for a new kind of customer. With this new platform came a completely new, reworked developer toolset. Developers who want to take advantage of the latest platform, tools and services to create content for today’s most active and connected customers will be drawn to Windows Phone 7, however, there is no developer app compatibility with previous versions of the Windows Mobile platform.
Will Microsoft provide support to access their healthcare (i.e. HealthVault) platforms through Windows Phone 7? And will there be ways to access established PAC systems like GE’s Centricity?
It will be up to each corporation to determine if and how to make healthcare information available on Windows Phone 7, but we’ve worked hard to create a platform that makes creating useful and compelling applications easy. As for Microsoft and HealthVault, the company is committed to supporting the Windows Phone platform and is actively engaged in creating applications that connect to HealthVault in support of consumer health and wellness.
Are there plans to have Windows Phone 7 access hospital networks and view patient data either through Microsoft HealthVault or 3rd party applications like AirStrip or the EMRs of various health systems?
Many of the applications that hospitals access via mobile devices are simply over a mobile web browser. HealthVault and most web applications will be accessible via Windows Phone 7. There will be discussions with health vendors as to whether custom Windows Phone 7 applications will be developed (for example, a custom Windows Phone 7 application downloaded and installed via the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace versus typing in a website using the Windows Phone 7 mobile browser). We are open to working with 3rd party application developers that want to build physician facing applications that access HealthVault account information for patients that have granted them access.
How will developers use the new capabilities in the new operating system in their software?
As with many of the applications available today, vertical application can take advantage of new Windows Phone design elements through panorama and pivot controls, as well as Bing map integration, use of Live tiles and real time updates through the push notification service. The new Windows Phone Developer Tools make it fast and easy to bring compelling apps to life on Windows Phone 7.
Our take from this exchange is that Microsoft is still looking for active buy-in from developers but isn’t quite there yet. Epocrates seems almost essential (no pun intended) to have in the future, especially with their future EMR products. At Medgadget we get all kinds of pitches from App developers to review and talk about their apps, but we haven’t heard much on the Win7 Phone front (please write to us via contact form or in the comments if you have a healthcare app for professionals for review). We are also curious if any of our readers have made the switch to Win7 phone? Stay tuned for future developments with this new mobile operating system….
Microsoft: Windows Phone 7 for health and life sciences…