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Physicians Say iPad Not Ready For Clinical Computing

Posted on February 16, 2012 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. Contact her at @ziegerhealth on Twitter or visit her site at Zieger Healthcare.

Doctors love them, but don’t think the iPad is ready to play a major role in clinical practice, as Apple hasn’t done enough to optimize it for healthcare, according to a new study by Spyglass Consulting Group.

According to a new report by Spyglass,  doctors don’t feel the iPad is ready to have an impact on care delivery. While 80 percent of physicians responding predicted that the iPad will have a positive impact on future care, it’s just not ready today, they said. (Most doctors I’ve talked with agree, noting that while it’s great for reading data, it’s extremely difficult to use for data entry.)

We’re not at all surprised to hear this given some of the iPad horror stories traveling around. For example, when Seattle Children’s Hospital pilot-tested iPads for its doctors, the result was a complete flop. Doctors there complained that that it was just too awkward to enter data into the otherwise sexy device. Shortly thereafter, IT switched its plans and rolled out a zero-client set-up.

So, what will it take to make the iPad clinically useful? To be successful in healthcare, Apple and its partners need to rewrite and optimize clinical apps to include gesture-based computing, natural language speech recognition, unified communications and even video conferencing, Spyglass research concludes.

I’d add that EMR/EHR vendors need to create native front ends for the iPad; given its penetration among doctors, I’m baffled by vendors who demand that doctors use their system via Citrix or the Web.

Unfortunately, with the exception of Epic’s Canto, few vendors offer a fully-fledged iPad app as a front end to their system. (One of few examples of a native iPad app from a smaller EMR vendor comes from Dr. Chrono, which, perhaps not so coincidentally, just got $2.8 million in venture funding.)

What’s more, Apple will have to do something about iOS security. It’s little wonder that 75  percent of doctors said that hospital IT departments weren’t eager to support mobile devices on corporate networks. While any device exposes networks to additional threats, Apple seems to have some particularly difficult problems, especially where its Safari browser is concerned.

Like the doctors surveyed by Spyglass, I have little doubt that iPads will end up assuming an important role in healthcare.  But given the snail’s pace at which native iPad apps are being launched, it may be a long time before that happens.

iPad in Health Care

Posted on January 13, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Last month Information Week reported on a study by HIMSS of iPad use in health care.

Data showed that nearly 70% of the attendees were from hospitals or healthcare organizations with more than 1,500 employees, and 15% of attendees were executive-level staff or physicians.

More than 25% of the HIMSS respondents plan to deploy the iPad and other iOS devices immediately and nearly 70% plan to deploy the devices within the next year.

I must admit that I have been amazed at the uptake and power of the iPad. After attending the CES conference in Las Vegas last week, you can see a whole slew of iPad copy cat’s that are working to provide the same benefits of the iPad. There’s no doubt that health care will be a major user of this type of device.

The information week article does point out the two biggest challenges with the iPad in health care:

Nearly 75% identified secure configuration and deployment as the number one iPad IT management challenge, and 53% identified mobile application deployment as a key issue.

Security is definitely an important concern that will be ongoing, but is definitely manageable. Then, it’s just getting software vendors to actually leverage an iPad device and it’s unique interface as opposed to just porting their current interface to the iPad. This will take some time.

Now I just need to find a way to get me an iPad. I bet they’ll have a bunch of free iPad giveaways at HIMSS. Maybe I’ll get lucky.