Healthcare: The great hope of tablet computing

by Keith Andrews

June 17 2013

Keith is a technology writer specializing in mobile trends. He lives in Silicon Valley.


80 percent of doctors expected eventually to be using some sort of tablet-like device in their practice.

Doctors are now trading clipboards for powerful new tablets. As Apple, Google and other major providers are releasing new devices, the industry continues to grow.

When these devices give way to the next generation of instruments (Google Glass?), tablet computing will have developed a healthy relationship in the healthcare sector. They're compact, portable and have all the basic computing functions on which doctors rely on.

Why doctors love tablets

Citing an article from Scoop.it, 62 percent of doctors in America now use tablet computers. The article also claims that most prefer the iPad, but many use a variety of other mobile devices in the workplace, as well.

One of the reasons doctors love tablets is the versatility of the device. At work, they can be used to access radiographic images, patient reports, and other essential information. Their graphical capabilities make it easy to see images in high detail and point things out to patients.

EHR (electronic health record) software allows physicians to access all relevant information with just a touch. This software doesn't actually run on tablets - instead, it's based on a different computer and simply allows the tablet to access it, according to HealthFusion.com.

After the workday ends, tablets are still useful for doctors. By now, app developers have created tablet utility in almost every aspect of life. Just like users from the general public, physicians can create a presentation on a tablet at work, and use the device as a cable TV guide with the DirecTV app at home.

Tablet statistics in the healthcare sector

Tablets are enjoying a huge surge among physicians and other healthcare professionals, citing an article from HealthFusion.com. In 2011, only 30 percent of U.S. physicians were using tablets.

The site also reported, according to the AMA, in that year, 27 percent of medical users had chosen an iPad in particular. It's likely this is, in part because many EHR packages will only work with iPads.

The article also makes the claim that, in 2012, 62 percent of doctors in America used tablet computers. And 80 percent of doctors expected eventually to be using some sort of mobile device in their practice.

Other considerations surrounding the use of tablets in healthcare

One of the first considerations the healthcare industry needed to figure out, when it came to mobile computing, was how to protect the privacy. Now, this issue has been solved through the use of registration and encryption protocols. Citing an article from the Sun Sentinel, Broward Health Systems (BHS) just recently had 200 of their 2,000 physicians register their devices to be used on the job.

So far, the BHS pilot program is only in place at its Imperial Point facility, but it will soon be added to its Coral Springs hospitals, as well.

Hospitals are suddenly interested in encouraging electronic devices because of a federal program that pushes the computerization of healthcare records and activities. Doctors, however, like the devices because it makes it easy for them to explain diagnoses and handle paperwork that would otherwise be very time consuming to deal with constantly.

Even though, smaller and more portable devices are taking over the general market, it's clear that tablets offer many benefits for physicians and other healthcare professionals. Therefore, continued demand is likely to keep tablets alive for a long time to come.

Keith is a technology writer specializing in mobile trends. He lives in Silicon Valley.

Are you a tablet industry professional, tablet app publisher, or just a visionary with a strong opinion about tablets? We would like you to contribute a vendor-agnostic analysis piece to our Opinions section. Please contact Michael Singer, Business editor.

Links & Apps

Share with: Comment   v

Free newsletters for more tablet news, insights, apps and tips



Comments

 

Latest in tablet business / productivity