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Will the iPad Revolutionize Healthcare?

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, January 29, 2010

Kevin Pho, MD
Internal medicine specialist
Nashua, NH

"[The rollout has been] a lot of hype. But I think it holds tremendous promise in healthcare. People are focusing on how it looks. But the strength of it is in the software—the programming—and how easy it is to use.

"Apple has historically made their products easy to use. Now, it's up to software companies to write software programs that take advantage of how easy it is to use."

"The iPad could serve as a simple digital electronic medical record system that communicates easily with pharmacies and other medical record systems."


Brian Ahier
Health IT
Mid-Columbia Medical Center
The Dalles, OR

"I think it will eventually be used for medical clinical applications, just like the iPhone now is being adapted [by doctors and other healthcare providers] for clinical use.

"It's almost a generational shift. You have the older physicians who are resistant, and not as able to adapt to tablets and PDAs and point of care devices that allow access to clinical information or e-prescribing. They're just not as comfortable.

"But then there are the younger docs, and they come in excited that there's an app for getting PAC images, actually diagnostic images, and that's an exciting concept for the iPAD.

"Of course, for now, one is hard-pressed to find EHR vendors to have applications written for the Mac OS or for the glorified iPhone, that the iPad will be using. But you're going to see applications written for this iPad that we haven't even imagined yet. There will be some very serious clinical applications that physicians use everyday on their iPhones, but which five years ago no one would have imagined a doctor would use a phone for these purposes.

"And there are no USB ports on the iPad, which limit functionality. In the long-term, that won't be a barrier because everything will be wireless.


Tom Gehring
CEO
San Diego County Medical Society

"If you look at it as a tablet, we already have that [in products such as Lenovo's netbooks]. And if you look at it as an iPhone, we already have that.

"It's a little flashier, but it's just a big iTouch. It's not something revolutionary . . . unless people write cool apps for it. The lynch pin will be HIPAA compliant transmission."


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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