As medicine goes digital, Apple's iPad is top choice among doctors

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
As physician practices and hospitals are increasingly required to bring their operations into the present with digitized records, Apple's iPad is the device of choice when it comes to doctors interacting with health records, a new study shows.

PhysiciansA mockup of the Epocrates application on Apple's new iPad mini. Source: Epocrates.


Doctors and hospitals are hungry for apps that take full advantage of the capabilities of mobile devices like the iPad, according to data from Black Book Rankings, a healthcare IT analysis firm. This is becoming more important due to impending regulations stemming from the Affordable Care Act, requiring physicians and hospitals to begin storing their patient records electronically.

As the healthcare industry moves to adopt digital technologies, Apple's iPad and iPhone remain popular options for access to records on the go. Sixty-eight percent of surveyed physicians and practices chose the iPhone over Android and other smartphones. Fifty-nine percent of physicians and practices said they were integrating tablets into their operations, and the iPad was the most popular option in that category.

Physicians, Black Book's survey found, are looking for a tool that allows them to have easy access to electronic health records (EHRs) and other medical information without having to carry around a laptop or walk to a desktop station. Just over half (51 percent) of office-based physicians said they use a mobile device to perform independent medical reference and internet research. Doctors, though, are aware of the possibilities inherent in mobile devices: 83 percent said they would immediately use mobile EHR functions to update charts, check labs, and order medications if their EHR vendor provided such functions.

Part of the problem lies in the lack of digital health record functions that are native to the touchscreen interfaces that typify mobile devices. Many EHR systems are virtualized versions of the systems seen on traditional computing platforms, meaning it is much harder for physicians to quickly accomplish tasks.

Eighty-three percent of surveyed physicians said they wanted customized, simplified versions of their patients' charts when using a mobile app, not just a replica of what is presented on a full-sized laptop. Seventy-one percent of physicians said apps should be optimized for touchscreen capabilities.

Vendors supplying EHR systems have indicated that they're ready to move to the iPad in order to address physicians' concerns: 122 vendors told Black Book that they're preparing to roll out native iPad versions of their products, while another 135 claimed such a product was on their near strategic horizons.

Smartphones are also popular among physicians, especially primary care and internal medicine doctors. Among those, 89 percent of them use smartphones to primarily communicate with staff. The small screens on smartphones, though, were a hindrance to physicians, who must navigate patient charts and perform other functions that require more screen real estate.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 82
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,684member


    Just face it. The iPad is the standard in just about every imaginable industry and business that deploys tablets, from medicine, to airlines, to restaurants, to clothing stores, to warehouses, in real estate, you name it. I would think twice about doing business with any business that deploys Android tablets, for a number of obvious reasons.

  • Reply 2 of 82
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,607member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post


    Just face it. The iPad is the standard in just about every imaginable industry and business that deploys tablets, from medicine, to airlines, to restaurants, to clothing stores, to warehouses, in real estate, you name it. I would think twice about doing business with any business that deploys Android tablets, for a number of obvious reasons.



    Well, first off - they've got no class. 

  • Reply 3 of 82
    When critical functions depend on a stable platform, go Apple.
  • Reply 4 of 82
    stelligentstelligent Posts: 2,680member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post


    Just face it. The iPad is the standard in just about every imaginable industry and business that deploys tablets, from medicine, to airlines, to restaurants, to clothing stores, to warehouses, in real estate, you name it. I would think twice about doing business with any business that deploys Android tablets, for a number of obvious reasons.



    That is more or less what I see in my world. But there is emerging need and adoption of NFC for specific applications. In that situation, Android tablets (and handhelds) are pretty much the only option, unless one wants to give BB10 a try (but I don't think the Playbook has an NFC option, even if the hardware was considered a viable alternative). 

  • Reply 5 of 82
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,684member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by stelligent View Post


    That is more or less what I see in my world. But there is emerging need and adoption of NFC for specific applications. In that situation, Android tablets (and handhelds) are pretty much the only option, unless one wants to give BB10 a try (but I don't think the Playbook has an NFC option, even if the hardware was considered a viable alternative). 



    Are you thinking about NFC payments and such?


     


    Yes, there have been devices that have that already, but as we all know, it hasn't taken off yet, because Android is not influential.


     


    I am fairly certain that Apple has been working on their own solutions for a while and they will be coming out with it when the time is right, and that is also when we will start to see it take off and get more widely adopted.

  • Reply 6 of 82
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member


    In my health care provider's outpatient treatment areas, there is a Windows computer in every room. The nurse can log in and enter in BP and other physical records and then log out. When the physician enters the room they log in through the same computer to access or update your records.


     


    In the scenario often being proposed by medical use iPad advocates is that each person will carry around an iPad and do away with the computer terminals altogether. Using iPads might make sense when physicians are visiting admitted patients in the hospital instead of using a clipboard and then letting their assistant record the digital records from the hard copy, but it does require larger lab coat pockets and also carrying around a tablet all day, but on the plus side it does offer better security for the patient data. Even though the iPads aren't that heavy, it is an additional bulky item to tote around all day. It could also use up more of the physician's time as they would have to complete the entire digital record themselves instead of having their assistant do it.


     


    But back to the treatment rooms issue, it seems to me more efficient to leave the computer in the room than for every one of the people involved with your outpatient visit to have their own iPad. Often that is three people. The preliminary nurse's assistant, then the doctor and possibly a LPN assisting the doctor. As it is now they don't have to carry anything and all use the same Windows terminal. I'm not sure how an iPad really improves efficiency in this situation.

  • Reply 7 of 82
    inklinginkling Posts: 731member
    This is where the iPad mini shines. It's lighter than the regular iPad and slips easily into the large hip pocket in coats and tunics. There's also a market for those who can come up with accessories and apps for medical staff. Cases need to look medical and protect well, including from chemicals. Email and messaging apps specifically designed for in-hospital use should also be popular.

  • Reply 8 of 82
    No surprise here. iPad is the standard and nobody even comes close. The also-rans need to just face facts and give up. Outside of perhaps a Kindle, nobody wants or has use for their junk.
  • Reply 9 of 82
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member


    It's only a matter of time until an iPad can do much of the work that doctors currently do.


    At least the screening and basic diagnosis.


     


    All it would need is an artificial intelligence rule-based diagnostic app, a hardware dongle


    that can check basic patient data like body temperature (and maybe take blood samples etc.)


    And, of course, upgrades to Siri (or a Siri API) for question-and-answer sessions like "How long


    have you had that cough?" and "Where does it hurt?" and "How many marbles did you swallow?"

  • Reply 10 of 82
    c4rlobc4rlob Posts: 277member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

    But back to the treatment rooms issue, it seems to me more efficient to leave the computer in the room than for every one of the people involved with your outpatient visit to have their own iPad. Often that is three people. The preliminary nurse's assistant, then the doctor and possibly a LPN assisting the doctor. As it is now they don't have to carry anything and all use the same Windows terminal. I'm not sure how an iPad really improves efficiency in this situation.


    I would argue even replacing that single Windows terminal with a single iPad dedicated to a room would be an improvement. The iOS touch interface is far quicker and more informative than the archaic interfaces I've seen running on most of those Windows terminals. If the Windows terminals were running some amazing cutting-edge software that required a desktop environment, that would be different. But I constantly see nurses and techs confusing themselves trying to jump around between screens and mazes of jumbled field boxes with arrow keys and pointers.


     


    Even tech-support and mobility within the room would be improved over having a heavy rolling cart and jumbled wiring for a clunky computer+screen+keyboard. Think of how more and more stores/restaurants are switching to one iPad to replace their Windows terminal once used for complex POS systems.


     


    *I wonder what the network connectivity issues would be for hospitals and clinics going from wired to wireless.

  • Reply 11 of 82
    sessamoidsessamoid Posts: 182member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post


    It's only a matter of time until an iPad can do much of the work that doctors currently do.


    At least the screening and basic diagnosis.


     


    All it would need is an artificial intelligence rule-based diagnostic app, a hardware dongle


    that can check basic patient data like body temperature (and maybe take blood samples etc.)


    And, of course, upgrades to Siri (or a Siri API) for question-and-answer sessions like "How long


    have you had that cough?" and "Where does it hurt?" and "How many marbles did you swallow?"



     


    You're delusional, or you've been watching too many cheesy SciFi movies.

  • Reply 12 of 82
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,301member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post


    It's only a matter of time until an iPad can do much of the work that doctors currently do.


    At least the screening and basic diagnosis.


     


    All it would need is an artificial intelligence rule-based diagnostic app, a hardware dongle


    that can check basic patient data like body temperature (and maybe take blood samples etc.)


    And, of course, upgrades to Siri (or a Siri API) for question-and-answer sessions like "How long


    have you had that cough?" and "Where does it hurt?" and "How many marbles did you swallow?"



     


    I theorize that within 5-7 years almost all initial medical diagnoses will be easily achieved by an Apple product. Artificial intelligence and 'embedded sensors everywhere' is about to get real.

  • Reply 13 of 82
    macbook promacbook pro Posts: 1,605member
    [URL=http://www.auntminnie.com/index.aspx?sec=sup&sub=pac&pag=dis&ItemID=103572]iPad comes up just short for detecting cerebral infarction[/URL]

    A [I][B]first-generation iPad[/B][/I] slightly underperformed medical-grade liquid crystal displays (LCDs) for spotting cerebral infarction on brain CT studies, but the effect is reduced when more experienced readers are using the iPad, according to research published in the June issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.
  • Reply 14 of 82
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    I theorize that within 5-7 years almost all initial medical diagnoses will be easily achieved by an Apple product. Artificial intelligence and 'embedded sensors everywhere' is about to get real.

    Imagine your doctor calling in a prescription for a pill that will precede your visit by a day or two. You take it when the doctor says to then when you go to the doctor he can pull the data from the pill.

    I'd actually like something more preventive. Either a pill you ingest every so often that a home device can pull data from or a machine that will take a drop of blood as a sample every day or few days. It reads the levels and determines what you need to do to balance out your diet or exercise to maintain optimal health. It could inform you of potential changes that you may want to see a doctor for, like the "Check engine soon" light on a car's dash.
  • Reply 15 of 82
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by c4rlob View Post




    I would argue even replacing that single Windows terminal with a single iPad dedicated to one room would be an improvement. The iOS touch interface is far quicker and more informative than the archaic interfaces I've seen running on those Windows terminals. Even from a tech-support perspective an iPad in every room is better than a clunky computer+screen+keyboard in every room. For example, think of how more and more stores/restaurants are switching to one iPad to replace their one Windows terminal once used for complex POS systems.



    I would have to disagree because an iPad does not have multiple users. In the case of the treatment area, each user has a different permission level. The Windows machines are using IE browser as the computer interface.

  • Reply 16 of 82
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,285member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post


    I would think twice about doing business with any business that deploys Android tablets, for a number of obvious reasons.


    I've stopped flying American Airlines (partially) for this reason.

  • Reply 17 of 82
    c4rlobc4rlob Posts: 277member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    Imagine your doctor calling in a prescription for a pill that will precede your visit by a day or two. You take it when the doctor says to then when you go to the doctor he can pull the data from the pill.



    I'd actually like something more preventive. Either a pill you ingest every so often that a home device can pull data from or a machine that will take a drop of blood as a sample every day or few days. It reads the levels and determines what you need to do to balance out your diet or exercise to maintain optimal health. It could inform you of potential changes that you may want to see a doctor for, like the "Check engine soon" light on a car's dash.


    Sounds awesome, but would this pill transmit data wirelessly through the membranes of our bodies? What are the health implications of that? Or maybe the pill would dissolve and the data it collected would transmit to a device when leaving our body - either as evaporating sweat or other "emissions" :)

  • Reply 18 of 82
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post




    I'd actually like something more preventive. ...or a machine that will take a drop of blood as a sample every day or few days. It reads the levels and determines what you need to do



    With a single drop of blood you can only do one very basic test. Some tests require a lot more than a drop. To really do a comprehensive blood test you need quite a bit of blood because each test has its own machine. They don't do multiple tests with the same sample as many of the tests are destructive to the sample.

  • Reply 19 of 82
    ericthehalfbeeericthehalfbee Posts: 4,079member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post


    I would think twice about doing business with any business that deploys Android tablets, for a number of obvious reasons.



     


    I don't really care if a business uses Android or iPad as long as they can provide the service I need.


     


    However, I refuse to visit (or patronize) websites where they don't have a content section specifically for iPads (for example, by using Flash). There are over 100 million iPads in use, and for a web developer to exclude that market is ridiculous. I'm amazed there are still large companies whose websites don't properly work on an iPad. No webmaster with any amount of common sense would ignore that large of a market so the only thing I can think of is some companies employ a webmaster that happens to be an Apple hater and refuses to take iPads into account. Even worse that the company hasn't fired their a$$ over such an obvious oversight.

  • Reply 20 of 82
    macbook promacbook pro Posts: 1,605member
    sessamoid wrote: »
    You're delusional, or you've been watching too many cheesy SciFi movies.

    Which aspect is delusional other than the cost associated "a hardware dongle that can check basic patient data like body temperature (and maybe take blood samples etc.)?" Only the cost is questionable as such simple measurements are currently possible via hardware accessories for iOS.
    • The graphics processor in current generation of iPad has far more processing power than the most powerful supercomputer twenty years ago. How much processing power will an iPad have in the next decade with the same form factor using a SoC created using 10 nm process technology?
    • We already have somewhat reliable speech recognition.
    • We already have context aware artificial intelligence.
    • We already have numerous clinical decision support systems.
    • We already have codified disease classification as well as communications standards in medicine to facilitate electronic data interchange.
    • Computer Aided Detection is arguably already the standard of care in Digital Mammography.
    • Physicians are often being replaced by physician extenders in non-emergent care (musculoskeletal injuries, ear-nose-throat complaints, etc.).
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