updated 01:30 pm EST, Mon February 1, 2010
Price, easy cleaning may be major incentives
Apple is currenly trying to market the iPad to hospital buyers, accounts suggest. Officials from the tech company have allegedly visited a Los Angeles hospital in recent weeks, with some form of marketing agenda in tow. The connection to the iPad is only speculative, but may be likely given the coincidence of the visits with the iPad announcement, and the nature of hospital computing.
Tablets are considered ideal for nurses, doctors and pharmacists for several reasons, such as the ability to work charts and look up medical information without retreating to a nearby office. They are also said to be hand-portable, easy to disinfect, and harder to break than a notebook, even if most tablets lack a lid. Many hospitals are also attempting to switch over to paperless records, effectively mandating computers within quick reach.
The iPad's sales advantage may be price, rather than any technical superiority. Whereas the cheapest iPad will cost $499 at retail, one tablet under consideration by HMO Kaiser Permanente -- and already in use at UC Davis -- is selling for over $2,000 per unit. Corporations could lower their expenses even further by placing bulk iPad orders.
Factors that may deter short-term adoption revolve around apps. No customized medical software has yet been announced for the iPad, which could limit initial functionality to that made possible by iPhone apps. Such titles would still be restricted by the iPhone OS, which is incapable of multitasking, or Mac- and Windows-like file management. Distribution is moreover controlled through the App Store, which could make it difficult or impossible to ensure all iPads are using up-to-date code.