The iPad makes its first hospital rounds

Given the rhetoric coming out of Brumby's health minister and the vague nature of the applications my first instinct is this is a political stunt. But American VCs see it as something more, a business trend.

One of my more popular pieces at ZDNet Healthcare so far this year described medicine as the iPad sweet spot.

My point was that since the iPad looked-and-felt like the pads many doctors already carried around with them, and many were already hot for iPhone "apps," software vendors and re-sellers would build a big medical market around it.

That is starting to happen in the U.S. from the bottom up. VCs are excited. Imaging people are excited, too.

What I didn't expect was that some politician would see an advantage in championing the iPad.

Well, meet John Brumby. He's the premier of Victoria, Australia's most densely-populated state. (Must by why its nickname is Garden State. Free Snooki.)

Brumby has put $500,000 into a pilot program aimed at putting 500 iPads into the hands of doctors and nurses in hospitals. It's high profile, with lots of press coverage.

The question that occurs is whether this is a move toward more effective health care or a political stunt.

Given the rhetoric coming out of Brumby's health minister (all about younger physicians being more familiar with technology than we old codgers) and the vague nature of the applications (the hospitals have to create them, for now it's Web access) my first instinct is stunt.

But if Labor politicians see advantages in being seen on the side of the iPad, I have to think there are for-profit hospitals in the U.S. who also see these advantages.

Let me know if you see your doctor sporting an iPad.


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