HHS releases iPhone app - a great first step, here's how we leverage it!

![](http://blog.joeycoleman.ca/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/YYmvT3XhjVl2YXfa6pOjsM-temp-upload.esjlhpqe.320x480-75-300x431.jpg "YYmvT3XhjVl2YXfa6pOjsM-temp-upload.esjlhpqe.320x480-75")HHS iPhone App load page
Hamilton Health Sciences unveiled a [new iPhone app](http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hamilton-health-sciences/id535128211?ls=1&mt=8) today that was produced in house.

“As leaders in health care and healthcare information technology, the new app is a way for us to interact with patients on a whole new level. We feel it sets a new standard and is beneficial for the patient, because they can use it to quickly connect to our hospital’s services,” Mark Farrow, HHS vice president and chief information officer stated in a news release.

HHSC says the app offers information about:

• Major Programs and Services
• Maps & Parking Information
• Shops & Services at each location
• Floor maps
• Searchable clinic directory
• Hospital Locations
• Latest News & Events

It is a very positive step to see a local government agency moving into the mobile space and they should be applauded for taking a big first step.

The choice of launching a native app instead of going for an HTML5 page with link icon is justified by the use of features only available to native apps such as GPS.

Great first step … what’s next

I cannot stress this enough – they are provided real-time information to a segment of mobile devices. They produced it in-house, giving their staff a valuable, and rare for the government sector, opportunity to innovative and challenge their skill sets. The retention and recruitment value of this cannot be understated.

![](http://blog.joeycoleman.ca/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/YYmvT3XhjVl2YXfa6pOjsM-temp-upload.dukrhbyb.320x480-75-300x431.jpg "YYmvT3XhjVl2YXfa6pOjsM-temp-upload.dukrhbyb.320x480-75")Floor plan of the McMaster University Medical Centre as displayed in the HHS iPhone app
#### Other platforms and community partnership with open data

It is a first step that creates opportunities for more mobile and web applications. They’ve created their data feeds for the iPhone app that can be used for applications on other platforms, including Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, and desktop browsers. They can the stream as open data inviting the community to leverage public information for public good.

Cost savings in health care – open source

The provincial deficit means tightening budgets in health care and more layoffs of front-line nurses in our hospitals. The mobile app, by providing actionable real-time data will reduce costs by enabling the public to make more informed health care decisions and find the best place to seek care for non-life/limb threatening illness. (911 should always be used in life-threatening emergencies.)

![](http://blog.joeycoleman.ca/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/YYmvT3XhjVl2YXfa6pOjsM-temp-upload.zzvrpkil.320x480-75-300x431.jpg "YYmvT3XhjVl2YXfa6pOjsM-temp-upload.zzvrpkil.320x480-75")The HHS app uses the iPhone's GPS feature to assist users in finding the nearest care centre
It can also help other hospitals to enjoy the same potential cost-savings by open-sourcing the applications and providing a data standard for other institutions to use. They’ll be able to customize the application for their local circumstances and contribute improvements that all can use, including HHS.

Posting the code on Github invites everyone to contribute and learn from the HHS’ experience. Mohawk students can practice for Apps4Health by improving this app.

A data standardization, and open data, enables developers to create applications covering entire regions. In Hamilton, we can link HHS, St. Joseph’s, and Joseph Brant. (Joseph Brant is the closest emergency room for Stoney Creek residents)

HHS leads the way

HHS has lead the way locally and I’m excited to see them (hopefully) demo the app at the next Democamp and for all of us in the development community to have the opportunity to contribute to improving health care information in Hamilton.

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[/module] A round of applause to HHS and their IT team is in order. (It’s okay, you can clap right now, people will understand.