As any member of the healthcare profession can tell you the bane of any medical office, hospital or clinic is paperwork. Charts, forms and printouts seem to multiply on their own the longer a patient is treated, often resulting in hefty and unwieldy bundles. Of course the paperwork that gets used day to day is often a digest of previous forms, which requires cautious transcription to make sure all pertinent medical information is notated. The computerization of most modern health care facilities has done much to reduce clutter, redundancies and oversights but it is still the duty of the healthcare staff to make certain each patient has a printed paperfile on hand for the attending physician.
This final hurdle of wasteful and time consuming paperwork appears about to fall. With the release this past April of Apple's new tablet device, the iPad, the modern medical office gains a powerful tool of records modernization.
It's not only paperwork the iPad aims to improve. Numerous medical texts, any of which is too heavy for a busy physician to carry on his or her rounds can be loaded onto the iPad, giving doctors a veritable library of medical knowledge at their finger tips and at a moment's notice. If the information you're looking for isn't in a book the iPad's lightning quick Wifi connection can put you on the internet at speeds your iPhone only dreams of.
Patients will benefit by their doctor's ability to draw up imagery and charts to help explain procedures and diagnoses complete with full-color diagrams and network access to test result, scans and x-rays. Always a major patient complaint, they need no longer wonder about the details a physician may be too busy to explain in detail, the doctor will soon be able to simply hand a detailed audio visual presentation from his or her white coat pocket. At the same time the iPad can be an excellent tool for patient sign ins, surveys, registrations and, concierge service for patients.
A number of hospitals have been using the iPad including the vaunted Cedars-Sinai Medical center in Los Angeles which was rumored to have been given a number of the early models of the top secret device before its official release to the public. Apple contends that overall physicians and healthcare workers have been overwhelmingly enthusiastic about their hopes for the iPad as a valuable tool in the medical office of the future. This comes as no major surprise if you consider the popularity of Apple's iPhone with doctors and nurses. Thousands of healthcare applications designed specifically for the iPhone are for sale in the iPhone App Store and an equal number, if not more are expected to be developed for the iPad in the coming years.
Certainly a huge contributing factor to the iPad's ability to carve itself a niche in the medical device market is its relatively low price. On the low-end a laptop - an item the iPad has designs on replacing, or at least usurping many of the mobile medical applications for which laptops are used - costs at least twice as much as a single iPad. While other tablet devices designed specifically for medical use can easily cost 20 times the cost of the iPad.
It is obvious that this is a market Apple wants to be part of and that they have consulted physicians, nurses and workers variety of other healthcare jobs to discover what exactly they can do to set themselves apart in this lucrative market. The outreach has been significant and it's only a matter of time until iPads become as common a site in doctor's offices as stethoscopes.