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Medical Uses of the iPhone (Part 3) -- YouTube, Google Video, and Other Sources of Patient Education

When I first wrote about medical uses of the iPhone -- before I even began experimenting with one -- one of the potential applications I talked about was patient education.

The iPhone has an integrated YouTube player. Potentially, this means that patient education videos on YouTube can be identified and bookmarked, then played back at the appropriate time.

Here's an example. A patient has just been diagnosed with diabetes, and like most people, he doesn't really understand about the pancreas and insulin, but would like more information. The physician, while he's finishing writing out paperwork, helpfully hands him an iPhone, which plays this 2 minute introduction to diabetes from the Mayo Clinic:


The YouTube player is one way to display patient education videos on the iPhone, but it requires the presence of a Wi-Fi connection to work well. Another method is to download videos to iTunes and then play the videos directly (the iPhone is also a wide-screen video iPod). Certain sites, like VideoJug, feature patient education videos that (helpfully) can be downloaded in iPod format. (Thanks to my colleague Dr. Dimov for the tip.) The following video on high blood pressure is an example:

Finally, I've successfully tested TubeTv, a useful program for the Mac that allows you to convert any video from YouTube or Google Video into a format that can be saved in iTunes and synced with the iPod.

Using TubeTv, I've been collecting patient education videos on the following topics. (As a nephrologist and general internist, these are a few of the medical issues I take care of frequently.) Please comment if you have recommendations for any videos you think patients would find useful.

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
High Cholesterol
Kidney Disease (Decreased Kidney Function)
Kidney Stones
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About the Author


Dr. Schwimmer's blog explores the intersection of medicine, new technologies, and the Internet.