Apple iPad: Healthcare industry weighs in

By: Brian Dolan | Jan 27, 2010        

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iPad 2The iPad definitely helps bridge some of the gaps currently present in the mobile [device continuum]. Workflow is the key to adoption and utilization in healthcare. I think the iPad will be a catalyst. – Tom Herzog, VP IT and Medical Device Technologies, Cerner

I think [the iPad is big news for healthcare providers and patients]. Despite its lack of a camera, the iPad will push healthcare away from the medical office and away from the desktop. – Ted Eytan, Kaiser Permanente

The iPad  is not a game changer. The device seems to suffer from the usual Apple problems that make using it in healthcare difficult, namely a non-replaceable battery and AppStore uncertainty. That said, iPad seems to be a new tool for patient use and that large (9.7 inch) screen and 3G [wireless connectivity] is a big help. I agree with New York Times columnist David Pogue that time and the quality of the iPad’s software development kit will tell. Also, lack of multi-tasking may be an issue, but it could be fixed in an upcoming software update. PC Magazine has some good thoughts here. – Rob Havasy, Business Analyst, Partners Healthcare’s Center for Connected Health.

The iPad has a better larger interface for viewing one’s personal health records and it’s just portable enough to take to the doctor’s office. I think the iPad may also find traction with hospice and visiting nurses teams that provide at-home care. The iPad (I hate that name) also could find a market with the elderly as it could compete with Intel’s Health Guide. For acute care markets, however, I think the iPad will find limited adoption because it is too big to be truly mobile and not quite big enough for intensive medical applications. There is big potential for education, however — imagine Grey’s Anatomy on an iPad! That’d be cool. As a patient, I could use it to store or access my health records, including rich CT scans that I could share with my care team. - John Moore, Managing Director, Chilmark Research

Will the iPad replace the iPhone for clinicians? I think not. Will it find strong adoption among care providers? Probably, but how strong? is the question. Providers will still want the performance and pocket-sized convenience of the iPhone for their phone needs, but undoubtedly a significant group will add the iPad as either their individual in-clinic device (or perhaps as a shared resource tool for multiple users). We here at Blausen Medical we’ve obviously got a dog in the fight with our Human Atlas iPhone app, we can see the dramatic enhancement in viewing our animations on a screen twice as large as the iPhone. The advantages in delivering point of care patient education are enormous, and coupled with the ease for new users of downloading from the iTunes App Store, or transferring already purchased apps from their iPhones, make the new iPad a natural. We’ll see where this goes, but aside from all the buzz about the iPad’s e-reader and gaming strengths, we believe it could drive additional momentum behind the already bubbling area of mobile communication in the healthcare vertical. – Bruce Blausen, Founder, Blausen Medical

I join Bruce in the belief that this will drive momentum for iPad’s and iPhones in Healthcare. The form factor is ideal for patient education, medical image viewing and interacting with the EMR. However, point of care workers need a smaller footprint, that can go into the pocket of their scrubs. Everyone needs more effective communication, so you can expect Voalté on both platforms! - Rob Campbell, CEO, Voalté

A few quick hit iPad features that the healthcare community should be excited about: 10 hours of battery life; a (relatively speaking) cheap starting pricepoint of $499; a beautiful screen; an external keyboard that attaches and docks to the device. – Iltifat Husain, medical student and blogger, iMedicalApps.com