The iPad has so far dominated the conversation in the healthcare world when it comes to mobile technology, but there are a few shortcomings being pointed out by medical professionals. Most of these shortcomings can be circumvented through planning and consideration, but these things may be opening the door for other technology providers to make their way into the medical world. For instance, if you are still using a desktop application in your clinic process, it simply will not integrate with the iPad. A hurdle of this sort can be overcome in one of two ways. You can either employ a different EMR or you can evaluate other mobile devices.
In case the iPad turns out to not be a viable option for your clinic, here are a few options for alternative mobile tablet technologies from other vendors:
Samsung Galaxy Tab
The Samsung Galaxy Tab is an Android competitor to the iPad. It is a bit smaller coming in with a 7-inch display. It has a camera and does multi-tasking well. This product seems like a great option for competition and costs about the same as an iPad. it does have an App Store but its not nearly as robust as the iPad App Store. This product hasn't been fully integrated into the medical world just yet, and as information of user experience pours in, we'll be sure to give you the updates.
Panasonic Toughbook 1
The Panasonic Toughbook laptop was specifically designed for the medical field. What the iPad lacks in resistance to liquids and overall unsanitary environments, the Toughbook makes up for in rugged durable construction. This technology is more of a laptop than a tablet and the price does reflect that. It costs around $3,300.
The Blackberry Blackpad from RIM is currently not released, but is likely to be a close competitor to the iPad. It looks as if it will be the same size and will use a similar Smartphone-esque design with its touchscreen, they will have an app marketplace as well. Ultimately, the main perk for this product is for those who already use a Blackberry operating system and want a different option other than an Apple product.
The Dell Streak
Coming in at 5 inches, the Dell Streak is probably the smallest tablet on the market. It is actually referred to as a pocket tablet. In the clinic setting, this could open up new opportunities in mobility or completely hinder the functions of an EMR due to its viewing capabilities. The key in this product is testing. Be sure to fully demo this product before attempting to integrate. The size may seem like a perk, but could end up being a hurdle.
The Cisco Cius really applies itself to ease of communication. In the field of telehealth it would be a valuable counterpart because of its integration with Cisco communication hardware. It will have a camera and a USB port, which the iPad currently does not utilize. Official pricing is not out yet, but Cisco plans to retail this product for under 1,000 dollars.
Ultimately, no product has adequately displayed its vast uses in the medical field as the iPad has. The App market has fully embraced the medical industry with thousands of apps in this category alone, which in itself lends a lot of value to the community that comes with the purchase of this Apple product. Testing these options will allow you to decide on a case-to-case basis, which tablet or mobile computing device is right for your clinic.
We encourage you to expand on what we have provided and do your own research to insure you get the best product possible for you and your clinic. Every clinic is different and has a unique set of needs; this is essential when considering a mobile device.