The tablet revisited

Yesterday, I wrote about how Apple may potentially release a tablet with a few solutions for the health care market in mind. This blog post explores some possible uses for an Apple-based tablet.

The author reports:

It makes sense for Apple to test the waters in non-consumer markets where tablets have found some purchase in the past. The iPhone is making gains in enterprise, and is even used by many doctors because of the low cost and good design of a variety of medical database apps available on the device’s App Store.

Combining that kind of knowledge repository with a device that can replace a clipboard and act as a connected link to the hospital’s central database would obviously be something that might appeal to doctors. It would reduce the need for extraneous devices and trips back and forth from a central nursing station where information is collected and stored, and could conceivably lower wait times and increase patient turnover, an important concern in privatized health care.

I wonder if organizations will do any usability testing to determine if the handheld iPhone is preferred over a full-sized tablet depending on the role and function of the health professional. From my days working in the hospital, we had anecdotal evidence from staff that suggested that physicians preferred handheld smart-phones (like an iPhone) because they moved around the organization more. On the other hand, nurses seemed to prefer the full-sized tablet because they (generally) worked within a unit. Actually, what the nurses seemed to like best was to have touch-screens mounted on the wall so they could use their hands.

I would be interested to see if there is any data/evidence that examines this issue.