With January’s unveiling of the long awaited Apple iPad, it seems the natural response has been to speculate as to it’s usage beyond what would be appealing to the average consumer. Is the iPad capable of delivering more to users than an oversized iPhone? Can we tease out a business utility? Will it’s portability somehow enable more efficient communication, both professional and personal?
And what could be the implications and applications in health care? As the industry trends more and more towards streamlining, digitizing, and mobilizing hospital records, some of the most progressive minds in modern medical technology have begun evaluating the iPad’s prospective benefits to the health care industry.
As far as NC medical students, physicians, and nurses (and patients, for that matter) should be concerned, there is not much to worry about or prepare to contend with today (the iPad does not ship for several more months still). However, we’d all be wise to remain apprised of the potential this device – and the others soon to follow – can hold for our industry. As such, here’s a snapshot of current sentiment.
A January 2010 article in MobiHealthNews featured quotes from authorities in the healthcare industry weighing in with their thoughts on the device. The opinions were as diverse as the respondents themselves. Said Ted Eytan at Kaiser Permanente: “I think the iPad is big news for healthcare providers and patients… [it] will push healthcare away from the medical office and away from the desktop.” Contrarily, Rob Havasy of Partners Healthcare’s Center for Connected Health: “The iPad is not a game changer.”
Meanwhile, a January 2010 post in Science Roll enumerated the “Pros” and “Cons” of the iPad for healthcare professionals on a more logistical level.
Some cons according to Science Roll:
· “iPad is not ruggedized while other healthcare tablets are drop resistant from about a meter.”
· “No Multi-tasking: it makes it impossible to write a patient report while consulting with a colleague (there are hundreds of examples why multi-tasking is crucial).”
· “No barcode scanner: it’s used for checking and uploading drugs, among others.”
Some pros according to Science Roll:
· “It’s cheaper than other healthcare tablets.”
· “It was designed to be as user-friendly as possible (a nice advantage of Apple products) so elderly people will also be able to learn to use it easily.”
· “One scenario might be having an iPad in the hospital as the central database where doctors can upload the information from the iPhones.”
For the time being, the speculation will unfortunately have to remain just that. But we’ll certainly keep an eye out as to developments with the device, and will look forward to feedback from doctors, nurses, and medical students, once the iPad hits the market.
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