Despite the well-intentioned efforts of Bill Gates, tablet computing never caught on in a big way for Microsoft. Indeed, tablet computing arguably began, in a mainstream sense, with the release of the iPad this past April. The medical field, however, is one area where tablet computing did see a modicum of success even before Apple entered the fray.
In any event, the popularity of the iPad is seeping into all sorts of unexpected areas, and not surprisingly, the iPad is proving to be quite the hot commodity in hospital settings.
For example, Australian health minister Daniel Andrews recently announced that starting in January 2011, over 500 doctors and nurses would receive iPads to use during the course of treating patients. Before that, a hospital district in Visalia, California ordered 100 iPads to help healthcare workers access information such as X-ray images and EKG results on the fly. And going back further, even before the iPad was released, there were reports of Apple representatives visiting California hospitals with iPads in tow, reportedly looking to market the device for internal use.
More recently, the Stanford School of Medicine announced that all incoming medical students would receive a free iPad, explaining that the iPad will “allows students to view and annotate course content electronically, facilitating advance preparation as well as in-class note-taking in a highly portable, sharable and searchable format.”
Long story short – medical professionals are intrigued by the iPad and are increasingly looking for ways to integrate the product into their health care practices.
On that note, FutureMedica recently published a list of 10 ways in which the iPad is changing healthcare. From helping surgeons prep for procedures to helping explain those very procedures to patients, the iPad may one day become a ubiquitous component of the hospital experience. Some other examples include:
– Doctor Goes Paperless: Dr. Jon Mendelsohn, medical director of Advanced Cosmetic Surgery & Laser Center, is using several iPads as a way to take his office paperless. Patient charts will be securely loaded onto his iPad, so that they are accessible anytime he visits with a patient, including nights and weekends. Patients will use iPads to fill out paperwork and staff will use them as teaching tools with patients to go over procedures and pre- and post-operative instructions. Mendelsohn said he loaded his library of publications onto the iPads as well, so that patients can learn more about facial surgeries while in the waiting room.
– iPad for People with Disabilities: Fine motor skills are really not required for the iPad, making this device a natural for anyone with diminished fine motor skills and other disabilities. Dr. Weber writes about one man with Parkinson’s Disease who used his iPad with ease, compared to a regular computer with a keyboard and mouse. Previously critical of iPad, Dr. Weber has “softened up a bit” after watching his friend go through the motions, and is now starting to think of other areas and other applications for the iPad that would be helpful for people who find working with a traditional keyboard and mouse difficult.