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.