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Transforming healthcare requires more than giving iPads to doctors
Apple's new iPad mini is expected to be a huge hit with doctors. A small survey conducted earlier this year by Epocrates, which makes medical references apps for mobile devices, found that one-third of physicians were planning to buy one -- before Apple had even announced it. The reason according to 90% of respondents is the smaller form factor that's almost tailor-made for standard lab coat pockets.
That isn't surprising when you consider that many surveys healthcare professionals illustrate that medicine is going mobile faster than virtually any other industry. Many of those same surveys also show a distinct preference for Apple's iOS platform and the iPad. The following is just a small sample of what's going on with mobile technology in healthcare:
- A study by Vitera Healthcare Solutions showed the iOS devices the most commonly used mobile devices among healthcare workers with 60% using iPhones, 45% using iPads, and 38% using Android phones.
- A large study of physicians by QuantiaMD, an online community for physicians, delivered similar results with 80% reporting that they owned a mobile device with the iPhone being the most common device owned by doctors (59%) followed by the iPad (28%) and an Android phone (21%).
- Manhattan research found that tablet use, predominantly iPad use, among U.S. physicians had doubled in one year with 62% of doctors reporting that they regularly use a tablet in some professional context -- half of them in point of care situations involving patients.
- Aruba Networks examined the adoption of BYOD policies and personal devices used by healthcare workers, including doctors and nurses. It found BYOD support at 85% of its healthcare customers participating in the survey and that the iPad was most commonly used personal device -- 83% of respondents reported iPad use. Personal iPhones and/or iPod touches were used in 65% of the organizations surveyed.
- Health guide and journal publisher Lippincott Williams & Wilkins found that 71% of nurses used a smartphone on the job.
Most commonly, healthcare providers are looking to mobile technology for ways to streamline care and documentation workflows, deliver better and more engaged patient interactions, and to provide instant easy access to medical references and calculation tools.
But there's a multimillion-dollar question that needs to be asked here: do iPads and related mobile technologies actually meet those needs and expectations?
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