Palmetto Health doctors give Microsoft's Surface Pro the nod over iPad

by Michael Singer

July 15 2013

Doctors Patel and Gould inspired a hospital to think differently about tablets in healthcare
Doctors Patel and Gould inspired a hospital to think differently about tablets in healthcare

While iPad continues to dominate doctor’s offices, Palmetto Health in Columbia, South Carolina has launched a pilot project using Microsoft Surface Pro tablets thanks to the initiative of two doctors. 

Doctor Nick Patel got the ball rolling when he decided that he needed an alternative to the computers on wheels found in most hospital exam rooms. While effective, these rolling stations did not provide good eye to eye contact with patients. A tablet computer could help solve the issue, but which one to choose?

“I initially started with an iPad,” Dr. Patel said. “The problem with an iPad is that it doesn't have the horsepower to do the complexity of our [electronic health records]. You have to also go to a remote sign-on, which is extremely slow.”

Dr. Patel soon shared his experience with his colleague, Dr. John Gould III at a local Best Buy. After a thorough demonstration, both doctors walked out of the store with a brand new Surface Pro tablet in hand.

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Doctors Patel and Gould are bucking the current trend. More than 70% of the 3,000 doctors surveyed by Manhattan Research this year said they were using an Apple iPad.

Take two tablets and call me in the morning

Dr. Patel and several of his colleagues now report doing all their work using Surface Pro tablets. The initial experiment led to a three to six month pilot with 30 physicians, including obstetricians and surgeons. Microsoft, which was not initially consulted, has agreed to loan Surface tablets to the hospital.

The experiment will measure patient and physician satisfaction, as well as impact on productivity, although Tripp Jennings, a vice president at Palmetto Health, says he has already noticed a difference.

“We’re getting better documentation of quality data and it’s not taking all the time away from actually caring for the patient. The impact that has on an organization is truly powerful”, he said.

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But perhaps Dr. Patel made the best case for Surface Pro at Palmetto Health when he talked about productivity.

“On average we probably can see at least two more patients per day”, said Dr. Patel. “I’m able to walk out of the office feeling accomplished for the day that I've done all that I needed to do. Within the first week, I noticed that I was going home earlier than I ever have.”

Michael Singer is the Business Editor for TabTimes

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  • MackytheMacky
    1 year 3 months ago

    70% of the U.S. doctors are smart enough to choose an iPad. They obviously weren't the ones that graduated at the bottom of their classes. The adoption of the iPad in all areas of commerce and institutions is way more them 70%. The federal government just chose the iPad as the ONLY tablet for purchases for the next 6 years. There are many good reasons for its dominance in business, institutions, and government.

    We won't hear about when Palmetto Health gives these heavy power sucking dinosaurs the toss.

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