Why physicians will prefer an iPad mini: It’s pocketable

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 25, 2012        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsThe iPad mini, which is priced at as low as $329, is “as thin as a pencil”, according to Apple. Physicians, however, are likely more interested in the device’s other two dimensions: Since the iPad mini is 7.87 inches tall by 5.3 inches wide, it is the first iPad that can fit into the standard lab coat pocket. Those typically measure about 8.5 inches by 7.5 inches.

About one third of physicians that Epocrates polled leading up to Apple’s big announcement earlier this week said they planned to buy the device if it turned out to be a real product. Epocrates’ survey took place when the iPad mini was still just a (very, very widely spread) rumor, but at the time 90 percent of those physicians who told Epocrates they were interested in buying it said that the smaller size was their main motivation because it would be easier to carry it around with them on rounds.

In an interview with the Washington Post this week, Forrester technology analyst Sarah Rotman Epps also noted that the device would likely prove popular for healthcare providers: “In the medical industry – carrying around full-sized iPads isn’t that practical,” she said. “A smaller, lighter device expands the number of people who can use the device regularly.”

In May of this year, Manhattan Research announced that based on its survey of physicians in the US some 62 percent were already using a tablet of some kind. Most of them were iPad users at the time, according to the research firm. About half said they used tablets at the point of care. The year before — in May 2011 — the company published results from a similar survey that found about 30 percent of physicians in the US used iPads to access EHRs, view radiology images, and communicate with patients at that time.

By all accounts the iPad has dominated tablets in the physician market these past few years, and if recent surveys are to be believed, the smaller iPad mini may win over some hold outs, too. Still, at half the screen size, just 7.9 inches, and the resolution of the iPad 2 (no retina display like iPad 3 and 4), the iPad mini may find different use cases at the point of care than its predecessors or its smaller cousin the iPhone.

Preorders for the iPad mini start this Friday, October 26th, and it will hit store shelves and start shipping next Friday, November 2nd.

In other news: MobiHealthNews has just published a free report, called Healthy Feedback Loops, that includes a number of examples of different ways that consumer health companies are using various incentives to encourage users to make healthier decisions. It’s a worthwhile review for longtime MobiHealthNews readers, but also a great introductory report for those who recently joined the digital health fray. Download your complimentary copy right here!

  • Jack J Florio

    I have  watched the increase in the usage of connected technology by physicians from the perspective of the pharmaceutical companies, where I have spent 30 years.  The industry has been constantly striving to find new and better ways of communicating with physicians.  The true portability and user friendliness of the iPad Mini has the potential to drive this to a new level.  Even more so than in the past, there will need to be a better curation of the apps to help identify the ones that can create real value.

    Jack J Florio, Strategic Advisor

  • http://www.nurep.com/ Paul

    It will be exciting to see some of the unique ways the iPad mini will be utilized to address critical problems in the healthcare environment.

  • http://twitter.com/AxialExchange Axial Exchange

    It fits in a lab coat pocket! 

  • Prat

    Once of the things that the iPad mini (and other tablets) are missing is printing. All these docs still need to be printed, and we at breezy.com do exactly that!

  • fg

    There are so many great health-related applications for a device like this!  I think it is going to be successful because of the tools already available today. Rehabilitation professionals like physiotherapists and even personal trainers, could highly benefit from such a portable device by utilizing excellent tools like TRAINERIZE (www.trainerize.com).  With such a portable device, they can have all of the organization and control over their patients in one easy to handle package.  By using these new tools, health professionals will become even more effective and ultimately the patients will benefit just as much.

  • MS3

    Awesome for carrying around in the hospital!  I loved the iPad but the size of the mini, especially the fact that it easily fits in a white coat, makes the mini much more usable in my opinion.  As I read in a review somewhere else, the fact that it is smaller makes it much easier to carry around and a tablet is only only useful if you can easily and conveniently take it with you anywhere you go.  And yes, there are so many useful apps!

  • James King

    In their own words, Epocrates sells ‘Influence at the Moment of Decision’ to big pharma.  Check out their sales pitch for pharma companies to buy advertising with them below.


    Google ‘unbiased medical apps’ for more information and better options.

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