Monday, October 1, 2012

Could your iPhone be hazardous to your healthcare?

Our blog has moved. You will find this blog post and fresh content on our new Talascend IT blog.

Does new map technology pose a risk to users?
A few weeks ago I wrote about the dangers cloud computing poses to your data and private information. We've also discussed the responsibility companies like Go Daddy and Apple have towards protecting our data and providing reliable services.

Then the iPhone 5 was released, and along with it, the much anticipated iOS 6 upgrade.

Let's just say; it's not the same iPhone you've been using in releases one through four. Google Maps has been replaced by Apple's own mapping technology that uses Tom Tom GPS data. There are a few other changes fans of the old iOS might miss, but I am most concerned by the GPS issue.


The story takes a left turn in that, Hospitals and ER's are not showing up on the new iOS mapping software. Mass transit locations are also omitted. One Twitter user reported that, following the upgrade, Apple's new maps wanted to send him to Kaiser, MO instead of his local clinic. I find these omissions a bit alarming if not downright dangerous.

I travel a lot for my work in healthcare IT staffing. I decline the GPS for my rental cars because my phone is a reliable GPS. Why pay for something when you get it for 'free'? I also find it kind of comical that with the new OS (to which I immediately upgraded because I was really looking forward to the turn-by-turn directions) I might not be able to find my healthcare IT clients anymore.

In all seriousness, what if I find myself in some unfamiliar town and I have a medical emergency and the fastest way to get there is mass transit? (OK, I might be going overboard, but this is a potential real-life scenario for many people.)   

Sure, I can ask someone for directions or download another app like MapQuest, but I will not have the most robust mapping tool I have come to rely on; day in and day out. However, in a life or death situation, I might not have the clarity of thought or the time to do so.

That's really my whole point.

I also upgraded to iOS 6 immediately based on my past flawless experiences with the process. So did millions of others. We all expected an improved upon and reliable product. What was delivered was a 'not ready for prime time' mapping tool and a few 'negative experience' reports ranging from some data loss all the way to a reset back to factory settings from friends and family.

Apple understands there are problems with the mapping tool and have said they are working hard to fix them. What responsibility do they have to deliver consistency and reliability in their products?

If phones were not locked into two-year contracts, I’m willing to bet that people would look at potentially switching because of this issue.  Maybe that’s a stretch. People love their phones, but it’s these little and sometimes big stumbles that can make product popularity change, sometimes overnight. Those with the means could be prompted to jump on the Android platform and get Google Maps with turn by turn directions (and directions to hospitals).

If you haven't upgraded yet, you may want to wait until the iOS 6.1 is ready to ship.

What do you think? Do companies like Apple have a responsibility to deliver on expectations based on past successes or will you give them a pass on this stumble?

Josh Kaplan writes on various subjects including information technology breakthroughs, big data, IT staffing and recruitment, healthcare IT recruitment, and technical industry news and trends.