27 January 2010

Tablet PCs and Health Care

Looking at the iPad released by Apple today, it's a pretty natural impulse to see that sucker in the ER.  I can see viewing the EMR and the EDIS on it (if those platforms were safari-compatible, which they are not).  I'm not sure that I can see doing a lot of data entry on it with the virtual keyboard, but there is the dock option.    It's been pointed out that Apple has not generally done enterprise marketing/support very well, and most enterprise IT folks view Apple with something between aversion and contempt, so it may be an entirely moot point.

Chris over at Medical Software Advice reports that Apple reps have been spotted at Los Angeles’ Cedar-Sinai hospital, probing physicians about how a tablet (Apple’s iPad) could be used in a hospital setting.  While I like the idea, I'm pretty skeptical that we'll see the iPad much in large hospital environments.  We will see.

Chris also has an interesting survey on what features health care professionals would like/need in a tablet device.  If you are a health care provider, click the link and make your voice heard.  I'll be interested to see the results.


  1. Interestingly if you look at this photo (http://static.arstechnica.com//ipadhandson//ipadhandson_ars05.jpg ) from Ars Technica's hands-on with the iPad you'll notice they have the Mac PACS software OsiriX (http://www.osirix-viewer.com/ ) on it. 5th app down.

    Pretty cool prospect!

  2. The iPad is such a terrible device. A netbook/tablet that can't multitask (running iTunes in the background doesn't count)? Unacceptable.

    It also tries to be an e-reader despite having a LCD screen with a glossy coating. Again, a terrible idea.

    Though, hopefully other tablet makers will get it right. I'm quite hopeful for the android based notion ink adam. It'll be the first device to use a Pixel Qi screen (which hopefully will make it much more like an e-ink reader).

  3. oh to see why I'm more excited about future pixel qi offering look at this video:


    Why apple didn't invest in them I don't know as it appears that Pixel Qi will be ready by Q3-4 of this year and with apple's support probably could have had their screen ready for an iPad by the summer.

  4. I'm convinced they'll make their way in soon. Hopeful at the least. Definitely much easier to use than some of the windows based tablets I've seen in ER's so far.



  5. My former practice used a PC tablet for its EMR. I hated them.

  6. I already tried convincing my boss we need them in Purchasing and Logistics to increase efficiency and give us an information edge when negotiating with vendors. He kind of balked at the price tag.

  7. I thought the same thing as soon as I saw it. It would need a good client app and a smart IT department behind it, though.

    It's just the thing for most of my typical school use cases (I carry an iPod Touch rather than my laptop most days...obviously the laptop is preferable if I have real writing to do), especially if there's a good edu discount I can see it becoming pretty big on college campuses.

  8. Think about what goes on in your ED...would you really want to have a nice, beautiful, expensive piece of easily portable electronics in your ED? Besides the obvious exposure to bodily fluids, there's infection control and the occasional influx of sticky fingers that could cause that very nice piece of equipment to walk away. Just saying.

  9. Look into Wellsoft, there EMR(ED based) is functional to a tablet format

  10. As an IT guy who worked at a hospital (although on the research side, but I had to work with the main hospital core IT groups quite a bit), people really aren't adverse to Macs at all; a number of the execs, in fact, had 'em as their personal machines.

    The challenge is more that Apple's enterprise support SUCKS. HP will Fedex Custom-Critical a replacement hard drive to you to meet their 4 hour response window, for example.

    Apple not only won't offer that kind of service contract, but will come up with all sorts of excuses like "oh, it's past 2PM and we're no longer dispatching same-day."

    On-site service for ANYTHING Apple? Forget it (I think the exception is the Mac Pro.) Meanwhile, Dell/Lenovo/HP will all happily run a x-hour on-site-repair contract for any of their products.

    So, the challenge for us is: sure, maybe everything works great on your iPad...but what happens when you start relying on it and then it dies in some fashion?

  11. BD -- Very true, and great point.

    We have an xserve in our corporate office. It's a workhorse and was a great value. But as for service it is entirely do-it-yourself.

    I am told that Apple's crappy enterprise service was also a huge impediment to the iPhone being adopted into corporate environments.


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