According to an interview with a senior director of the West Wireless Health Institute in Kaiser Health News, “less than one percent” of US hospitals have “fully functional tablet systems”, an indication that sales to the US healthcare sector by the likes of Apple is only one step towards the significant usage of tablets in the sector. The comments by Jonathan Mack, who is director of clinical research and development at the institute, reveal how hospitals are buying tablets (mainly iPads) but failing to fully exploit their potential.
The US lags in using electronic medical records (EMRs) on devices such as the iPad, says Mack. He says the leading EMRs have yet to develop apps that allow clinicians to access medical records on a tablet in the same way as a PC or laptop. Information has to be presented in a completely different way for mobile device says Mack, and adaption is expensive which puts off hospitals.
An interesting footnote to this discussion is that Microsoft last month released a new app that enables users of handsets running the Windows Phone OS to access HealthVault, the company’s EMR system, an example of the benefits of mobile integration. However, smartphones based on Microsoft’s OS currently have a relatively low penetration generally which is also reflected in the healthcare sector. Apple on the other hand have no such problem with take-up of their devices. Last year the company’s CEO Tim Cook famously said over 80 percent of the top hospitals in the US are now testing or piloting the iPad.