The Victorian State Government has unveiled a program where 500 iPads will be delivered to a number of hospitals in the state, as the Brumby Labor Government continues to show a great deal of interest in the Apple platform.
The roll-out will cost about $500,000, according to a statement issued yesterday by State Health Minister Daniel Andrews, and would see the iPads used by graduate doctors, nurse practitioners and advanced practice nurses to use while treating patients.
The trial will take place from January next year, although Andrews did not disclose which hospitals would get the technology.
"The iPads will allow doctors and nurses to access any web-enabled application run by their hospital as they move around the hospital, as well as allowing them to tap into health information resources," he said. "The iPads will connect via the Wi-Fi networks that allow secure, safe wireless connectivity within the hospital while not affecting other important and sensitive electronic patient care equipment."
The Victorian Government will assess the benefits of the trial before further expanding the project.
The news comes several months after Victorian Premier John Brumby announced the state would buy more than 500 iPads to be distributed to schools in another trial of the tablet devices.
"This trial will allow us to understand the impact of iPads on student learning and communication, and on the way teachers plan and deliver curriculum in the classroom," said Brumby in a statement at the time.
In June, HealthSMART's program director Bruce Ryan flagged that there was "considerable interest" within the Victorian Health Department for using iPads.
But not everyone in the public sector eco-system has been so enthusiastic about the new Apple technology.
The chief executive of South Australia's health department issued a sternly worded letter to all staff in late May warning them off corporate purchases of Apple's flagship iPad device until the department's IT team could properly assess the device.
SA Health CEO Tony Sherbon told staff that while the potential use of the iPad within SA Health might be significant, the department needed to fully assess the device before it was implemented — with concerns around the security of patient information being one potential issue.