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Why are some doctors and nurses giving back their iPads? (video)

5:33 am by | 26 Comments

Doctors love the iPad? Not so fast. It looks as if most doctors and nurses would rather not touch the iPad at work (or deal with any other kind of tablet computing). They certainly won’t be making it their go-to device any time soon.

“We had some instances where physicians wanted iPads — thought they wanted them — borrowed them, used them for a few days and returned them,” said Kirk Larson, a vice president and chief information officer at Children’s Hospital Central California.

Instead, therapists, dietitians, case managers and others who typically use the iPad to read give good iPad reviews, Larson said.

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So why do some healthcare workers like tablets and others don’t? It’s all about the data entry, said Larson, who spoke this week at the Healthcare Information Transformation conference in Jacksonville, Florida. Jobs that require lots of typing don’t work well for the iPad. Meanwhile, if a healthcare worker is largely reading “static” content, then tablet computing works for them.

“If you think about it, on an iPad when you go to enter data and bring up the virtual keyboard you are losing half of your real estate on your screen,” Larson said. “It’s kind of awkward to do a lot of data entry on a virtual keyboard.”

About 10 percent of doctors currently use an iPad at work. There’s been lots of talk that the new iPad 3 will help increase that number. But when you look at how doctors and nurses are using iPads, it supports Larson’s assertion. The iPad is used for very specific situations, which includes reference, reading images and educating patients. More recently, the FaceTime app has been used to connect primary care doctors to patients in the emergency department.

And while there are solutions to the problem of that shrinking screen — dictation software and attachable keyboards, for example — those are imperfect and costly solutions.

Larson drew the conclusion while conducting a “device road show” at the hospital designed to get advice from staff on device preferences.

[Photo courtesy of Flickr user 3dom]

Copyright 2014 MedCity News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Chris Seper

By Chris Seper MedCity News

Chris Seper is the CEO at MedCity Media, which publishes MedCityNews.com. He is also a senior writer at MedCity News. Reach him at [email protected]
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26 comments
lucascott
lucascott

This all reads like it was a poorly done not so random sample and a small one at that. How can we trust this information to be accurate by any stretch

daddyd01
daddyd01

Tablets, especially ipads, are expensive toys. Entertainment machines. Laptops are much better for the Medical professions.

JrMaki
JrMaki

tablets and PDAs offer faster service, with the right software. A GUI interface that cascades through intelligent choics can aid in diag and transcript and billing. Voice or GUI would work fine. add in am app that corosponds to that clients insurance giving doctors real time options based on what insurance will cover is a good thing.  

Jim
Jim

Some of the issues may not be hardware or the software available but a doc's available time to learn a new technology. If it's not useful right away or makes things easier, it will be dismissed. Some of the older doctors are also hesitant to embrace a new technology all together, to even give it a try.

Doug
Doug like.author.displayName 1 Like

"And while there are solutions to the problem of that shrinking screen — dictation software and attachable keyboards, for example — those are imperfect and costly solutions." I would like to disagree with this statement. For $100 you can get a cover with a blue tooth keyoard that works perfect. And if the Doctors are already reading on the iPAD they are likely using XenApp and that can pass the benefits of dictation softwareware. Although if the reading is for reference only what are they dictating? Just a thought

daddyd01
daddyd01

Let me show you this, for just a little $100 more you can have... Sounds like a salesman to me! For an already overpriced toy, you're adding even more cost. Why keep throwing good money after bad? Just get a laptop, and be done.

Maias
Maias

So why do some healthcare workers like tablets and others don’t? Liquid medicines are easier to swallow?

Thomas Trumph T.
Thomas Trumph T.

Comment by thetruth” A cool, thoughtful analysis there, presumably based on a lot of in-the-field research. Moreover, your bedside manner would be a credit to the medical profession. Comment by emstro — May 5, 2012 @ 6:55 am I agree but he does have a point(in a rude manner)...fact is ipad as like his little brother the ipod touch a consumer media device,not a productivity device....hence not optimal for that,unlike the real tablets that originally existed.

emstro
emstro

"the ipad is for morons and is such a waste of time and money. those who insist on using an ipad,or choose to purchase prove that they know nothing about technology and how to use it. stay away from anyone using such devices. i wouldnt trust them with my life thats for sure. Comment by thetruth" A cool, thoughtful analysis there, presumably based on a lot of in-the-field research. Moreover, your bedside manner would be a credit to the medical profession.

Thomas
Thomas like.author.displayName 1 Like

"Interesting report, but it ignores the fact that the problem is not the tablet, but the available software" Yes, but that is a problem that is one in the same. I would be using a macintosh right now if it weren't for the unavailability of software back in the late 80s. But it is still the same problem, 23 years later.

Terry
Terry like.author.displayName 1 Like

This article is OLD (from 2010) and doesn't include data entry options for the 3rd gen iPad, where you talk and it types.

TRB
TRB like.author.displayName 1 Like

Oh I sure if you spend enought time money you can find a way to make square peg fit in a round hole. The application is important NOT the delivery method.

alain smithee
alain smithee like.author.displayName 1 Like

My college computer science instructiors advice still holds. Software drives hardware. Find the applicaiton that lets you do what you want, and then find a computer (device) that runs the software with room to grow. When I worked in retail sales, I sold a lot of merchandise with that advice because it's easy to understand, and fits a businesses needs.

jb
jb like.author.displayName 1 Like

just my 2 cents but can't a JB appleTV already do airwave stlye shares the way the upcoming nintendo system looks to do? Walk into a room connect to the local Atv use the ipad screen as a peripheral device. For the keyboard-covered screen a push into a transparent ipad keyboard would be an easy fix .. add a slider for opacity control

Heath Umbach
Heath Umbach like.author.displayName 1 Like

I agree with jff. The problem is less with the device and more with the apps (or lack thereof). It's amazing what passes for "mobile" with many (most?) EHR vendors offering remote access (to Windows-based desktop software) in view-only mode rather than supporting a true, mobile, native workflow

Rajah
Rajah

Chris Seper, have you been living under a rock? tablet computing is new? it has been available for over a decade.

thetruth
thetruth

the ipad is for morons and is such a waste of time and money. those who insist on using an ipad,or choose to purchase prove that they know nothing about technology and how to use it. stay away from anyone using such devices. i wouldnt trust them with my life thats for sure.

Leo
Leo

the iPad is meant for preview and playback.... if doctors and nurses want to do data entry go get the MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. The iPad was meant to work as a data display. Used in tandem... one would enter data on the Mac Books and preview in a bus or car the front end information on the browser etc... that is how its designed to work...with newer evolving technologies coming out of Apple this summer, there will be many integration tools to the magnificent iCloud platform.. So keep your iPads

David Voran
David Voran like.author.displayName 1 Like

The EMR and Clinical applications are ubiquitous and accessible by multiple devices so we shouldn't be locked into a single device approach. We use large 23-27" touch screen monitors in the exam rooms because we find they are more for the patients than the physicians Zygote media's interactive Zygote Body (formerly Google Body) is immensely powerful patient educational tool and it won't run on an iPad or iPhone. All of us physicians were given iPhones and most have both devices and use them when mobile to access data but seek out larger screen notebooks or desktops when doing data entry or having to display multiple sections of a patient's chart which large screens allow. The small screen mobile devices are critical and play as much a role in the seamless use of information technology as the large screen devices. Couldn't imagine working without all of them at our fingertips.

Mark Ackley
Mark Ackley like.author.displayName 1 Like

I see people (again) using hardware without a compatability check or workflow analysis. Also, iPads have external keyboards built into the covers that are wonderful. Again, I feel for organizations who are slaves to their software and have to adust work flow and hardware to serve the inefficient master.

daddyd01
daddyd01

I'll say it again. iPads are very expensive toys!

Chris Seper
Chris Seper like.author.displayName 1 Like

Frank, I agree that research should always top anecdotes. But tablet computing is new and iterative. People will discover new approaches and find out other issues that will quickly date the research. This on-the-ground feedback is very enlightening.

Frank Fortin
Frank Fortin

These findings should not be confused with actual research. The conclusions here are based on anecdotal field observations, and should be viewed as only as impressions, not definitive findings applicable to the entire community. Field surveys by reputable groups like Manhattan Research have shown that tablets of all kinds are very popular among physicians for all kinds of work.

Jean-Francois Morf
Jean-Francois Morf

When you are used to work on an HD i-mac of 0,7 m diagonal, Hi-Fi sound, with a light pretty keybord that you can use 10 meter wide, why would you prefer an i-pad?

daddyd01
daddyd01

Apple fanboy alert! Apple is too overpriced to be a solution when there are less expensive, better, more reliable, less expensive to keep, and less prone to become obsolete (like Apple becomes as soon as it is purchased!) solutions on the market.

jff
jff like.author.displayName 1 Like

Interesting report, but it ignores the fact that the problem is not the tablet, but the available software. We have access to EPIC, but it is designed for a 27" screen and not optimized for the iPad. Until there are apps tailored to our needs the experience will less than optimal.