In what may be one of the first known iPhone 4 “video calling” medical consultations since the phone’s release, surgeons at Valley Presbyterian Hospital near Los Angeles and University of Arizona used the advanced technology to successfully collaborate long distance in “real time” on a wound consultation for a patient.

Using the FaceTime feature on the new iPhone 4, Dr. David G. Armstrong, professor of surgery at the University of Arizona’s Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance (SALSA), was able to instantly connect with Dr. Lee Rogers, associate director of Valley Presbyterian Hospital’s Amputation Prevention Center (, near Los Angeles by video calling. What is essentially a simple phone call, turned into a long distance consultation and second opinion for a patient who recently underwent surgery.

“Video consultation over the Internet has been available for a few years, but its utility in the clinical setting has been limited by the necessity of having a transportable computer, camera, and appropriate software,” says Rogers. “Now, nearly everyone carries a phone in their pocket. It is this compact accessibility that will lead to the adoption of this technology for medical consultations.”

“While the University of Arizona has had one of the world’s top telehealth systems, the ability to communicate quickly with something that is an afterthought has the potential to alter how we work with our colleagues and patients,” adds Armstrong. “Just as with the iPod in music and the laptop in computing, it is not the change in technology, but the change in form factor and ubiquity that alters this landscape.”