Reading yesterday about the 500 Graduate doctors, nurses and advanced practice nurses who will receive iPads got me to thinking whether this is is really a good idea. No doubt that iPads are the must-have device for surfing the internet whilst watching TV, training soldiers to shoot guns or babysitting toddlers, however is this the best choice of device in a hospital setting?
I suppose the answer is to determine how they will be used. In the pharmaceutical and medical industry, I can see a need for iPad (or other tablet) – useful for demonstrating and engaging on an exhibition booth, or apps for educating physicians and medical reference (which I understand will be partly what the device will be used for here).
What I am not so sure about is using the iPad during interactions with patients. Are you able to sterilise an iPad? What about the security element? iPads are sexy – are they not likely to be stolen in high quantities?
Ok, So I know that this is not the first time that the idea of using iPads in a hospital setting has been tried, but why iPad over other solutions? There are a number of (primarily windows-based) tablet PCs that are marketed to the hospital community, and after thinking about this for a while, I can only think that the low pricepoint compared with other tablet PCs ($400 vs $2000) combats the high desirability profile of the device (and the high likelihood of it being stolen) – you could replace it 4-times over – and add that to the networked nature of the system they likely have in place (all data held on hospital server, no no patient data on the device itself).
Turns out that an iPad, or maybe in the future an Android-based tablet device in the hospital setting may not be such a bad idea after all…