Tablet computers bring innovative 'open solutions' to bear in hospitals

Neal Ungerleider | Fast Company | December 19, 2012

Surgeons, doctors, nurses, residents, and other medical professionals all regularly use iPads or tablet computers on the job. Innovation, ease of use, and open solutions are key to their success.

Slowly but surely, iPads are changing the face of medicine. Surgeons, physicians, nurses, and residents regularly use the ubiquitous tablets to check electronic health records (EHRs), patient notes, journal articles, procedure notes, or just to access patient imaging. iPad use isn't limited to offices and hallways either: Sterilized iPads are frequently found in the operating room as well.

OsiriX, a popular free, open-source medical imaging viewer, has a separate iPad version. OsiriX can be used in conjunction with Dropbox by medical professionals for sharing of patient data, a popular option in many hospitals and private practices. Another popular iPad app for physicians is the secure medical messaging app TigerText. Citrix, a prominent maker of medical EMR software, also comes in iPad flavor.

Medical professionals have adopted the iPad Mini with a vengeance. As industry journal iMedicalApps notes, iPad Minis fit in white doctor's coat pockets. Although exact numbers are sketchy, portable health software provider Epocrates--not exactly a disinterested party--claims one in three physicians they surveyed plan to purchase an iPad Mini.