Laptops End Up With Kids, iPads Don’t

As I mentioned previously, I had the great opportunity to talk with Kaiser recently about their mobile initiatives at Health 2.0 Boston. It was a great chat with Brian Gardner, head of the Mobile Center of Excellence at Kaiser Permanente.

At one point in the conversation I asked Brian about Kaiser’s approach to devices. Did they allow physicians to bring their own device? Were they deploying their own devices and which devices did they use. Brian made a couple of comments that I found really intriguing.

First, he stated clearly that Kaiser issued all of their devices. They were looking at the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) idea, but currently they didn’t support any BYOD options. Based on his response to this question I could tell that there were a lot of conversations about this topic happening at Kaiser. I got the feeling that they were likely getting quite a bit of pressure from their doctors to do something along these lines.

Brian then also provided what I find to be a really compelling observation. He commented that from their experience the laptops they issued to doctors always seemed to end up with their physician’s kids using them. I assume they could see this based upon the software the physician’s children installed on the laptop. Then, Brian observed that they hadn’t seen the same thing happening with the iPads they’d given out. He surmised that this was possibly because many of the doctors that got iPads saw it as a privilege and those doctors didn’t want to lose that privilege?

How intriguing no? Why is it that a laptop feels like a commodity and an iPad feels like a luxury item? One you don’t mind your children touching and the other is a luxury that your child shouldn’t touch.

I’d also extend this observation to say that working on a laptop feels like work. Using an iPad feels more like play. At least that’s the feeling I get. I imagine many doctors feel the same way. I wonder if that will change as the iPad starts to get more applications that really help you do work on it.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of, 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,, 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.


  • As a long time IT professional I tend to act differently then a doctor, who may not see the dangers in letting their children get their hands on devices like laptops. I did add software to my work issued laptops; utilities, and DVD playing software for when I was in a hotel on business trips. And I was astounded by something; the laptop one global firm handed me had no firewall software on it even though it was regularly used outside the office.

    The thing about the ipad; it is very expensive, very nice to have, and very conducive to use at the patients bedside especially when little or no typing is involved. Even well paid doctors may take it more seriously then a laptop of about the same cost, since the laptop is far more familiar, and a lot less exotic, and a lot less ‘desirable’.

    The only byod situation I consider semi acceptable is the use of email on a smartphone (native client) OR use of email in a remote desktop situation on a home PC or laptop. The remote desktop can be configured to make it difficult to have any confidential data actually stored on the device. In either case, automatic screen lock needs to be turned on – and enforced.

  • Ehh, while I know you’re not jumping to any conclusions, would be very skeptical of his assumption. Once the tablet becomes more and more normal the kids will be downloading things on it too…don’t really see lack of that now as proof that they’re not using it at all.

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