This million-dollar question is being posed around the Internet with varying conclusions. What's your take?
The highly coveted iPad was released last weekend, and those who were fortunate enough to acquire the new gadget have been quick to discuss what kind of impact it will have on just about any industry. A fair amount of these early adopters seem to have been phsyicians, hardly a surprise given the fact that many docs are gadget lovers (and with good reason, considering that many of these electronics have the potential to improve workflow).
So, what seems to be the early concensus on the iPad's potential service to the healthcare industry? In a word, mixed. Here are some early insights:
First and foremost, Cheryl Clark, author of the technology blog over at Health Leaders Media, speculated that 1 in every 10 people who were in San Diego Apple Store Saturday were "health providers hoping to use it for patient care." The posting goes on to give a couple examples of how these healthcare providers intend to inject the iPad into their day-to-day activities, although some commenters on the posting are skeptical as to how this will be done.
Over on the EMR and HIPAA blog, the discussion is about whether the iPad will hold up in a clinical setting, and refers to one Dr. Larry Nathanson from BIDMC, who is already singing the device's praises. To see Dr. Nathanson's assessment in its entirety, visit John Halamka's blog Life as a Healthcare CIO.
Nicholas Genes with the Emergency Physicians Monthly blog gives an in-depth review on the iPad, noting certain features that might translate well for healthcare providers; however, the most interesting part about this posting is the comment section. As you will find, the first comment is from an EHR vendor who puts to rest all the speculation as to whether any EHR companies are focused on delivering iPad-specific programs for inputting health information. I won't go any further except to tell you that the title of the posting is "It's closer than you think." Definitely worth joining the discussion.
The opinions are certainly conflitcting on whether the iPad will have a profound impact on the healthcare industry, but one thing is certain: if the execs at Apple are as smart as they are made out to be, they'll surely recognize the huge market that exists for HIT solutions, and they'll be listening to the criticisms, complaints, and suggestions of these physician early adopters.