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Ipad and its impact on Medicine.

Posted Apr 20 2010 6:02pm

This is the second part of the series on Technology enablers in Health.

The current stats show that Ipad is a runaway hit among consumers. There are many reasons for this phenomenon, primarily it is the big brother of the popular Iphone.Secondly the applications which work on Iphone and Itouch are enabled for Ipad.

One of the major drawbacks in health care community is hesitation to early adoption of any new technology. In that we are conservative, that is we wait and watch and do not surf any new technological wave rapidly. It is a good startegy,as wait and watch for others mistake.But,the ever increasing cost of health care delivery necessitates some drastic actions.

Today internet applications are widely adopted by both patients and by physicians. It has also given rise to a new breed of consumers also known as health i consumers. These are consumers who surf the internet for any health related information. This is not surprising when we look at a research study published in BMJ in 2006 ,showing that web based searching may help doctors to diagnose difficult cases.

So, what is that makes the health care industry lags behind early adoption of new technologies? Are we still waiting for disruptive technologies to spill over to health care industry?

Growth of Iphone medical applications

When smart phones were first released, they were evolution of the ubiquitous personal digital assistant or better known as Palm PC.It was a success in the medical community as it was easy to carry around and also operate. There were many applications built around it for the medical community, similar to present generation Iphone application.

Although it had limitations in form factor and slower processor speed.

The current generation of Smart Phones are much more advanced and also have revolutionized our communications behaviours with tools like twitter.  Twitter can help in epidemiology-specific analytics, as these can be layered on top of the feeds to recognize specific disease patterns as they develop.However, Smartphones has a major drawback, the limited applications which work on them and the processor speed and the size. Smart entrepreneurs tried to bridge the size gap – RedFly by Celio Corp.

Tablet PC were technically marketed to fill in the niche-larger screen based smart phone; they were small, portable and even operated on Windows software. The leading software of the world, this enabled many healthcare professionals to move onto tablet pc’s.However, the success was limited. One of the reasons was that the applications built for conventional PC was applied onto tablet PC’s and it no longer viable. There was no software that made it wonderful, no developer built compelling applications for it and yes, it was almost as heavy as laptops, with the limited battery life.

Every year, manufactures continued to churn out the same old tablet pc’s, albeit with updated features like a touch screen and some new touch-friendly applications, this did not excite many consumers or health care professionals.

Net book pc’s filled the gap with longer battery life and also small size factor. This generated much buzz among consumers. They could be carried out anywhere and basic computing tasks like word processing and web access could be performed easily. But, the main disadvantage was that the information was to be entered through conventional keyboard, applications were windows based. Asus, released a net book based touch screen computer, but it was just a scaled-down version of any number of tablet PCs already out there, though less powerful, thanks to the Atom processor. That keeps the cost down and increases battery life, but that’s not been enough to lure mainstream consumers from health care world. Without any killer applications, it was not enough to generate any long term enthusiasm among health care consumers.

So where is the next technological innovation?Is it Disruptive!

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