Originally Posted by Inkling
Unfortunately, sterilization is a big issue in hospitals and it isn't simply as issue of keeping an MD or nurse's iPad away from patients with infections. Often a patient is admitted without knowing what they have. Only later are control measures applied. If an iPad is caught in that situation, what are they going to do with it?
If I were Apple, I'd be looking for engineers who know how to ruggedize, waterproof, and dust-proof mobile products. ICOM, maker of commercial and amateur two-way radios, has discovered that it often makes sense to military-spec products. Some customers need that ruggedness and will pay for it.
Apple is no longer a niche marketer. It should be looking into creating ruggedized versions of iPhones, iPod touches and the iPad.
I think you over-state the nature of the problem.
First, many facilities now use electronic medical records, and the most common way of accessing these systems is through computers mounted on carts (called cows) that get rolled around from room to room. These machines are not sterilized; they use standard keyboards and mice that cannot be run through an autoclave, yet there is no outcry about them.
Second, in health-care settings there are many devices which clinical care staff transport from room to room. There are Vocera badges, tracking badges, so called 'hospital phones' and the like which go with the clinician from room to room as a matter of course, and these are not seen as a significant vector for disease spread.
The biggest factor in hospital acquired infections is improper hand hygiene on the part of staff members; staff that don't properly wash their hands between handling patients and handling equipment, etc. The iPad is not any different from any other piece of equipment in the hospital that cannot be sterilized, and there are many many of them.