A Different Kind of Tablet for Health Care

Large computing companies have looked at health care as a large market under-served by their products.  But while Microsoft and Google have received plenty of attention for their attempts to enter the electronic health record market, a piece in today’s Washington Post suggests Apple may take a different route.

Apparently several health providers are looking at the iPad as a potential tool to use in their facilities.  Regrettably the piece is very thin on specifics, but suggests that the new tablet’s picture and video quality make it well-suited for medical images, and that text on the iPad is much easier to read compared to paper charts.  Wi-fi capability would no doubt make it easier to access test information and other data much faster.

Of course, the iPad has not been designed for the rough-and-tumble environment of an active hospital.  It remains to be seen whether the device’s hardware can be adjusted in a way that makes it more resilient to drops, shakes, scratches and spills without making it too expensive or less intuitive to use.  Something like the hardened laptops developed for rugged environments, but as a tablet, might help shove health care facilities closer to integrating technology into everyday use.

If You Like Your Climate Change Debates Content Free

The Colbert Report aired a segment last week called Science Catfight.  Running a lot longer than I expected, Colbert spent over 10 minutes (nearly half of the total time for any given episode) mocking the differences between climatologists and meteorologists over global warming, comparing it to the fights between astrologers and astronomers.  The two in-studio participants who probably weren’t in on the joke were the Weather Channel’s Joe Bastardi and the Union of Concerned Scientist’s Brenda Ekwurzel.  Watch the satire and mockery online.

Perhaps the biggest target of the Science Catfight segment was the coverage of this issue, and scientific disagreements in general, on cable news.  While a CNN weatherman was Colbert’s target of opportunity, Colbert spent the first half of the segment implicitly asking why television weathermen are taken seriously on other things, if they’re barely taken seriously in their own field.  Once the segment moved to the debate, Colbert made no pretense of trying to moderate things, citing Bastardi’s weightlifting titles as somehow relevant to his arguments.  The whole endeavor was remarkably content free.