iPad Won’t Transform Hospital IT, But Has Potential With EMR

i Medical Apps recently posted an article about Apple’s iPad falling short of transforming hospital Medical Care, but says it may have potential with EMR. We’ve discussed the iPad and EMR quite a few times on this blog with interesting responses.

The above article offers 3 reasons why their skeptical that the iPad will transform the way EMR software is done:
1) For a healthcare provider’s day-to-day use, the iPad doesn’t do anything better than an iPhone or a laptop/desktop.
2) Big hurdles face development of peripherals for more advanced healthcare functions
3) Safety

I guess for me the most important thing I’ve seen was a conversation I recently had with a doctor. This doctor is a HUGE Apple fan boy and always has the latest Apple gadget (like the iPad). I asked him now that he’s had the iPad for a while, what he thought about it.

He responded, “It’s a great toy.”

I think that basically summed it up for me. It is a great tool for doing a lot of things, but EMR is not likely one of them. I’ll still go back to my initial projection that the methods of input that the iPad are providing might be the basis for the future of data input. However, the iPad device itself isn’t what’s going to see the widespread adoption in healthcare IT and EMR.

It does make a great giveaway at conferences though.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • Was that last line a hint, John? 😉 Regardless, I thought you and your reminders might be interested in Dr. Vineet Arora’s in-depth examination of using an iPad for wards with medical students, published over at KevinMD. The doctor identified a list of positives and weaknesses for the device, with a mostly postive outlook on uses you could get out of the iPad.

  • The trick here I think is in not thinking of the iPad as a peripheral device in addition to a chart. It needs to become the chart. When the software allows us to do that, then it will be transformative. This means no Citrix, no desktop software (which is truly lousy anyway), and no web-based UI. We need a dedicated iOS app, streamlined and built specifically for multi-touch.

  • No idea. But it might go like this: 1. admin forces lame EMR on clinicians in time to meet MU 2. hospitals gets ARRA funds 3. clinicians raise a stink about how it destroyed their workflow and argue (rightly) that 4. the hospital now has money to spend on a better solution and 5. clever vendors develop an iOS solution that integrates with lame EMR and meets the standards of the clinicians. So, maybe 2-3 years?

  • I like the workflow. I think I’ll repost it to get other comments.

    Although, I project at least 5 years for that process to happen. Only problem is that in 5 years the iPad will seem ancient I think.

  • Michelle,
    That’s definitely a hint. I’ve been trying to get one of these iPad EMR companies to get me an iPad in return for a review of their EMR software on this site. Seems like a fair trade to me;-)

    Nice article. Definitely some good uses that are offered in that post. Granted, many of them could be just as well have done from the docs iPhone.

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