iPads in the Hospital

Yesterday we all thought the new iPhone 5 was supposed to debut, but Apple had other plans and decided to release the iPhone 4S.  As with almost all of Apple’s announcements people were all a buzz and were bummed when there was no iPhone 5.  As a result Apple’s stocks slipped a bit due to our high expectations for an iPhone 5. 

During the announcement Tim Cook made a statement that caused my ears to perk up and completely directed my attention away from the iPhone.  Cook said, “Over 80 percent of the top hospitals in the US are now testing or piloting iPad.”  Wow! That is a lot of hospitals using or soon to be using iPads. 

While Android still is the dominant phone (43% of the market vs. Apple’s 28%), Apple is the dominant tablet device with 74% of the tablet shipments.  What does this mean for hospitals that are not looking at iPads?  If the vast majority of institutions are going to be using iPads then I would assume the vast majority of medical programs will be developed for the iPad first, leaving other tablet devices for later (if at all). 

Perhaps Cook’s statement was hype or overexaggerated.  I have seen no independent verification of the statistic.  But if you look at the fact that Yale is providing iPads to medical students, Harvard is creating apps for medical students to use on both iOS and Android, and the Mayo Clinic doctors use the iPad to access patient information, dictate notes, etc., it is clear top medical schools and hospitals are definitely using the devices.  So, you’ve got to wonder if those not considering the device are doing themselves an IT disservice. 

I would love to have an iPad. I get more and more questions about apps and other medical resources from doctors who use their own iPad without insitutional support (they can’t use it to get on the Intranet to access resources).  I help them the best that I can.  Right now I am not buying my own iPad because I have no clear direction as to what device (if any) my insitution will support.  Since they don’t support Outlook for iPhone or Android, I am not holding my breath for the iPad.

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