Few health IT leaders outside Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CIO John Halamka, M.D., or his peers saw the iPad as a health care game-changer upon its release two years ago. Now however, CIOs increasingly view iPad EHR implementations as a way to promote meaningful use compliance among physicians, who love the device. Meanwhile, virtualization vendors are making those implementations more workable.
The increase in iPad EHR use also pushes some facilities closer to joining the “bring your own device” — or BYOD — movement, which brings its own security and compliance challenges. On the plus side, adopting a BYOD policy shifts the cost of purchasing the tablet to the employee, as well as the hassles of administering hardware upgrades.
If you’re an IT pro working for a health care provider and not already involved in an iPad EHR implementation, chances are you will be, soon: The iPad represents a significant slice of a mobile connectivity pie that will reshape health care, according to Deloitte’s 2011-12 Open Mobile survey, which calls health care the sector most likely to benefit from 4G technology in the coming years.
“Mobile is going to be a big part of health care,” said Harry Greenspun, M.D., senior advisor at Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, who noted that health care lags a bit behind other market sectors. “People always ask me, ‘What does the future of health care look like?’ About like the present of every other industry. When you look at how mobile has transformed retail and finance and travel and every other aspect of our lives — health care is going through the same transformation.”
The biggest interoperability problem health care software vendors must solve, Greenspun said, is making data ubiquitous despite the wild variation in screen sizes and operating systems. That, while taking into account workflow issues. “Tablets are great for consuming information, but for a lot of folks [tablets are] challenging to generate a lot of information,” he said.