Microsoft Surface tablets: A natural fit for healthcare

The upcoming Surface tablets have Windows inside, and that makes them a perfect fit for healthcare providers looking to upgrade their medical practices.

MSFT Surface tablet

Healthcare has always been an industry ripe for using tablets. Workers in healthcare are constantly flitting around the office, and having constant access to the medical practice's network is a big benefit. The highly portable Surface tablets on the way from Microsoft could revolutionize these offices, if developers jump on the Metro bandwagon.

I have recently visited two medical practices that are entrenched in the tablet philosophy. The two offices are very different, but have each settled on the old Tablet PC to mobilize the workers providing healthcare.

These offices are using the old convertible notebook with Windows 7, tablets that can swivel the screen to expose a full laptop. The workers carry them all day, entering pertinent information at each stop which is instantly updated to the patient's record.

In one practice the nurses and physician assistants use old HP Tablet PCs, while the doctors carry Motion slate Tablet PCs. The nurses I interviewed always use the HPs in laptop mode as they find typing easier to enter information on the run.

The doctors use a pen with the Motion, primarily to access information in the patient record when they come in for the examination. The two doctors I spoke with hated having to use the pen to manipulate the interface.

These practices are a perfect fit for the Surface tablets. The keyboard covers can be used by those who are more comfortable with typing for data entry, and the touch tablet for those like the doctors who just need to tap and access information.

What needs to happen to get these healthcare providers rolled over to the better solution is for the developers behind the practice management software in use to convert it to the Metro interface for the Surface. It might take a fair bit of work to make the proper conversion, but the target market is huge and flush with funds.

I suspect in a year or two we might see a lot of Surface tablets when we visit the doctor. It's a case of the perfect tool for the job, with everyone winning. All day battery life and a computer that is easy to carry for extended periods. Throw Windows into the mix and it's almost perfect.

If I had a company with medical practice software, I would divert every resource to getting it perfected for Windows Pro/RT tablets.