discoveries magazine

Your Health: It's in the Bag

Doctors' bags

1. Mid- to late 1960s 2. Late 1960s/early 1970s 3. 1970s 4. Early 1960s. Photo: Rachael Porter

For decades, the leather satchel was the family physician’s most iconic accessory. Today, patients have their own portable way to track their health outside the clinic: their cellphones. House calls may have fostered intimacy between patient and provider, but online connectivity now gives people more independent—and immediate—control.

Cedars-Sinai has partnered with Apple on a beta function of its Health app that lets patients sync information from multiple hospital systems for a complete, current, and easily accessible record of immunizations, lab results, medication history, and more.

“Every one of us has a phone; it seems so logical—and frankly empowering—to have health information at our fingertips,” says Darren Dworkin, Cedars-Sinai’s chief information officer.

The physicians’ bags pictured here are part of a collection of artifacts in the Cedars-Sinai Historical Conservancy.