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Healthcare iPad Deployment To Approach 70% In 2011

The rising number of iPad point-of-care applications are accelerating its use by physicians, finds Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society survey.

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Results from a survey of nearly 950 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) members indicates that iPad deployments are accelerating in large part due to the mobile device's compelling point-of-care applications and uses.

Conducted October 26 during an online webinar cosponsored by HIMSS and BoxTone, a mobile service management (MSM) company, the survey's results were released earlier this month.

Data showed that nearly 70% of the attendees were from hospitals or healthcare organizations with more than 1,500 employees, and 15% of attendees were executive-level staff or physicians.

More than 25% of the HIMSS respondents plan to deploy the iPad and other iOS devices immediately and nearly 70% plan to deploy the devices within the next year.

One-third of respondents identified point-of-care applications -- including lab order visualization and results, clinical decision support, and medical image viewing applications -- as top priorities, while 18% identified general administration, including billing, coding, and claims applications, as top priorities.

Nearly 75% identified secure configuration and deployment as the number one iPad IT management challenge, and 53% identified mobile application deployment as a key issue.

Lynne Dunbrack, analyst with IDC Health Insights, said security will remain a top concern for healthcare CIOs, especially if clinicians bring in their own devices to access the hospital's healthcare information systems, such as electronic medical records (EMRs) and computerized physician order entry (CPOE) systems.

"As more patient information is moved into EMRs and made accessible both inside and outside the organization via a range of devices, including mobile devices and tablets, the risk of a privacy breach rises. Organized deployment and virtualized clients will help to mitigate this concern," Dunbrack said.

Dunbrack also noted that the iPad, which has a sleek design, an intuitive user interface, and a large screen (relative to a smartphone), is becoming increasingly popular among clinicians. As the iPad gains traction among healthcare providers, EMR vendors will develop bidirectional integration between their EMR applications and clinicians' mobile point-of-care devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Vendors are also developing EMR applications specifically for the iPad, Dunbrack observed. One example is St. Louis-based ClearPractice, a company that develops Web-based ambulatory EMR and revenue cycle management applications. ClearPractice recently launched Nimble, a comprehensive EMR application designed and developed specifically for the iPad.

Alan Snyder, BoxTone's CEO, said in a statement that the iPad is redefining how organizations leverage mobile technology in the enterprise and the healthcare community is leading this paradigm shift.

"As these devices are used more frequently at the point of care, IT must ensure both data security and privacy, as well as superior remote connectivity," Snyder said.

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