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Will the iPad Revolutionize Health Care?

Dr. Ben Alexander, WakeMed’s chief medical information officer and pediatric intensivist, weighs in on the new Apple iPad and its application in a health care setting.

News of Apple’s innovative iPad has the technology world abuzz,  but what is the heath care community saying? The responses are, in fact, varied. Some have lauded the device as a “health care revolution,” while others are hesitant about how fast software creators will fashion usable health care applications.

On the surface, the device may seem an upgrade from its smaller screened relative, the iPhone. The 9.7 inch touch screen iPad boasts enough space to view health care data in detail. Though that’s too big for the lab coat pocket, it still beats the size of most paper files.

But obstacles for health care applications may lay behind the sleek façade. Currently organizations, such as the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), are trying to define the health information technology standards that could address data transferring and security issues. Stimulus money from the federal government could also advance this cause.

With all the hype surrounding the device, the iPad could be the impetus to speed this process. If this occurs, companies could create compatible and affordable software to optimize the device’s health care capabilities. It seems it will take these efforts (and some time) before we see just how revolutionary the iPad will be.

Update February 23: The American Medical Association also recently posted an article on the possibilities of the iPad in health care. Check out their thoughts here.