The iPad makes its first hospital rounds

The iPad makes its first hospital rounds

Summary: 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.

Topics: Legal, CXO, Health, iPad, Mobility, IT Employment

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  • It is political but it is definitely not a stunt.

    Stanford University is equipping their Medical Students with iPads that will allow them to view course material and medical imaging photos .. among other things. See AppleInsider article below for more info.
  • RE: The iPad makes its first hospital rounds

    If it suits the work then use it. Anyway it can always connect back to the office server and runs any Windows hospital software
  • My Doc was buying one

    He's already using the iPhone & loves it. Planned on buying an iPad when he could and had an idea for a medical app that he was thinking of developing.

    Medical apps on the iPhone would be the indicators of initial iPad apps. I use OsiriX to hold all my imaging - checked their site before the iPad hit the market and they were already working on it.

    I also believe that it's an excellent device for medical references (legal referencing also) as there is a massive body of knowledge in that field. Great for med school as well as physicians in practice.
  • What about security?

    In everything I've heard about the ipad nothing was there about encryption. HIPAA violtions are not cheap and you have to prove innocense if accused. If security is there it could work well.
    • RE: The iPad makes its first hospital rounds

      @harrim47 Security should be a network function, on the whole. Beyond that the iPad seems no more insecure than any laptop.
      • RE: The iPad makes its first hospital rounds

        @DanaBlankenhorn and Harrim47'<br><br>Security is more than a network function, you also have to maintain physical security for HIPAA. The advice I have been given currently is basically to let someone else suffer the first audit or two and see how those pan out.<br><br>I'm not holding my breath since the iPad calls home via iTunes, but I'm not against the concept either if it is found to be compliant.<br><br>Just remember that DEFCON just proved that there is no longer a secure wireless or GSM (editted, originally I misspoke "3G") network, so any data transmitted over those had best be highly encrypted.<br><br>As for laptops - they support EFS and have the option of using an ethernet cable which is still far more secure than a wifi connection as long as one maintains the physical security also.
      • iPad security

        @88Fan I'm among those who feel motive is a bigger issue in health care security than anything else. Unfortunately health reform didn't do enough to reduce the motivation of employers or insurers from getting access they shouldn't, so insecurity is going to be routine.

        Physical security is an example. M stands for mobile, as they say. Securing a mobile device means putting a lot of stuff in front of any data access, and can mean rendering the device unusable.

        Africa does a lot of good work in mhealth because these concerns just don't exist.