Happy Holiday: Tablets at Health 2.0

Sprint sent us the HTC EVO View 4G and Motorola Photon 4G

Matthew Holt, co-founder of Health 2.0 and a Jolly Saint Nick, dropped these toys off on my desk last week. With a twinkle in his eye and deep throaty chuckle he said, “Write these up for the blog and then go straight to bed. Now where are those cookies you promised us, I must be fed.”

Sadly, these Android devices are not actually presents, but review copies sent to us by Sprint. I won’t use this forum to bore you with comparisons of camera megapixels or screen resolution, but the real piece of news here is that our blog is getting attention from the third largest wireless telecommunications company in the United States.

So how do Android and Sprint fit into health care?

Felasfa Wodajo, MD, wrote up a piece for iMedicalApps this year about “Why locked Android tablets will beat the iPad for hospital use?” His bold claims didn’t go uncontested with a variety of arguments put forth both for the iPad and against the Android tablets. If you have a spare $200, you can even buy the full report on the “Medical Tablet War.” However, one point of consensus is that the iPad and the iPhone’s consumer popularity and unified interface really did matters to doctors.

Dr. Vineet Arora, recently provided an some interesting examples of iPads being used on the wards at Kevin MD; highlighting how the iPad interface improved point of care teaching, access to medical records, and helped residents balance clinical and academic workflow. But not every hospital system is ready for the shift. Seattle Children’s Hospital recently rejected their entire fleet of iPads last month because of complaints about the interface.

The question remains whether or not Android will have a place in future of the medical landscape or if the iPad will continue to dominate. But tablet technology and this growing debate over platforms has already had an important impact on how hospitals are interacting with health information.

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