News flash, not all docs happy with iPad in the hospital setting

Palmdoc Chronicles: “It looks as if most doctors and nurses would rather not touch the iPad at work (or deal with any other kind of tablet computing). They certainly won’t be making it their go-to device. “We had some instances where physicians wanted iPads – thought they wanted them – borrowed them, used them for a few days and returned them,” said Kirk Larson, a vice president and chief information officer at Children’s Hospital Central California, who spoke at the Healthcare Information Transformation conference in Jacksonville, Florida.” – This article caught my attention because I used to work at the facility mentioned in the article (Children’s Hospital Central California). The actual content isn’t really a big deal. Unlike hats, one size doesn’t necessarily fit all when it comes to tablets. Slate tablets really aren’t designed for data input. I ran into this problem nearly two years ago when the hospital I was working for at the time rolled out iPads to the pharmacists. Within a couple of weeks they were asking for their convertibles back (Dell XT2 tablet PCs).

Interactive Handbook on Injectable Drugs for iPad and iPhone

It feels like a day doesn’t go by that I don’t receive an email letting me know of something cool for mobile devices. With the ever increasing onslaught of tablet and smartphone use in pharmacy practice it’s only a matter of time before everything will be available in some electronic media format.

In this case it’s ASHP’s Interactive Handbook on Injectable Drugs: IV Decision Support by Lawrence A. Trissel. Every pharmacist working in a hospital pharmacy knows about this reference. And if they don’t then they have a big problem because it’s only one of the most definitive reference sources for IV compatibility. Over the course of my career it’s simply been know as “the Trissel’s”. (kind of like “the Talyst”…just sayin’ – private joke people)

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No walls, mobility and modularity

AMD blogs: “I can envision a future where we carry around a personal module and when we get close to any display, we can easily interact with our content and communicate with our loved ones. We are a ways off from that future. It will be driven by powerful CPUs, GPUs, APUs, wireless, HCI and software. There will be interim steps, of course, and I like to stay close to the bleeding edge as it is one of many indicators of where we are on the evolution. In this modular and extensible context, I’ve looked at the Motorola LapDock, the Motorola HD Multimedia Dock, and the Motorola Xoom as a notebook replacement.”

The Author of the article, Pat Moorhead connected a BlackBerry PlayBook to a Samsung 21.5” LED Display, Apple Wireless Keyboard and Acer Ferrari Bluetooth mouse. You can see the setup here.

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Tablet tid-bits

This morning at breakfast I sat across the table from an older gentleman in an Air Force flight suite. He was eating his cereal, drinking his coffee and playing with his iPad. I don’t often see older men in flight suites using an iPad so I felt compelled to strike up a conversation. I simply asked him what device he was using and what he was doing with it. I find that it’s better to play dumb in situations like these as people tend to open up a little more.

Anyway, I found his responses fascinating. He said that he uses his iPad in the cockpit of his aircraft to replace an “entire bag full of papers and books”. He was using an application to file his flight plan, check the weather, handle some flight calculations and review his “alternate” landing sites. In addition he was reading the New York Times and checking his email all while enjoying breakfast.

We talked a bit about the features of the iPad and how he liked it. He indicated that he used to have an iPhone and thought it was similar enough that he didn’t have much of a learning curve.  Before leaving he finished up the conversation by saying “it lets me keep everything in one place” before turning back to finish his meal.

The short conversation got me thinking about the often overlooked value of the new generation of tablet design. In this case it was an iPad, but it could have been an Android device, BlackBerry PlayBook, or HP TouchPad. Three things struck me:

First – The importance of the tablet form factor. Everything the gentleman was doing on his iPad could have easily been done on any computer. However, during our conversation he said that he used to use a laptop in the cockpit, but found that it was awkward. He liked the form factor of the iPad much better. Slate tablets are lighter, smaller and have better battery life. It’s hard to beat that combination of features for quickly viewing information.

Second – Standardized user interface and user experience. The fact that his learning curve for the iPad was improved by his previous use of an iPhone didn’t escape my attention. Android smartphone and tablet manufacturers should make note of this. The current trend with Android tablets is to create a customized user interface that overlays the “stock” Android UI. As cool as I think the aftermarket user interfaces are, they have the potential to create a bit of a dilemma for the end user. Keep it standard across the board boys and girls. From what I’ve seen of the TouchPad it looks like HP is trying to keep the experience similar across its line of devices.

Finally – Availability of key pieces of software and applications. Consuming information on a mobile device certainly took center stage for this gentleman as he was using his iPad to take the place of more than one item that he previously carried in his bag. It’s hard to say if all tablet manufacturers will have enough software and applications to make their devices as compelling as the iPad. Only time will tell.

When our conversation was over and the gentleman had finished his cereal he simply picked up his coffee cup in one hand, his iPad in the other and walked out the door. I suppose that just about sums up the value of utilizing technology in a mobile form factor.

Year end thoughts for 2010

2010 brought many new and exciting changes not only in my personal life, but in the world of pharmacy and technology as well. I’ve learned many new things, gained some new skills, made some new friends, explored the world of social media more deeply, traveled more than ever before and discovered that I once again know nothing. I am more excited about next year than I ever thought possible.

Below is a list of opinions I’ve gathered over the past 12 months. Some are pharmacy related, some are technology related, some are personal, and some are just random thoughts.

And here we go…
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Do you think this is the future of mobile computing, or the past?

I came across this post at Mobile Health Computing, one of the many blogs of Dr. Joseph Kim.

Is this the future of mobile computing?

Here’s a great photo of an Apple iPad on a stand with a keyboard on the desk. Is this the future of mobile computing? Will we all end up using thin slate tablet computers that are held up on stands? While we’re sitting on a desk, we may use the keyboard. When it’s time to go, we grab the slate and we run off. No keyboard needed since we’re probably going to be computing on-the-go.

The image from Dr. Kim’s post reminded me a similar setup I’ve seen in a pharmacy before. The image to the right is a J3400 tablet PC attached to the Motion FlexDock. The FlexDock offers support for an external monitor, RJ45 nectwork connectivity and multiple USB ports for keyboard, mouse and printer. In addition the FlexDock includes a charging bay with room for an additional battery.

Would it surprise you to learn that the setup to the right was introduced more than a year ago (early 2009), and that the J3400 is an “older” model tablet PC that was recently replaced by the J3500? I find that interesting.

Either setup would be great.

Update: Siemens Innovations 2010 Presentation

Today was the big day. I gave my presentation at about 11:00 am and it cleared the room. There were about 100 attendees for the CPOE presentation just prior to mine and about 90 of those people got up and left when it came time for me to do my thing. I guess mobile pharmacy just isn’t interesting to most people.

Anyway, the presentation is below. There is an embedded video near the end that didn’t pull into SlideShare. It’s about a 30 second look at how we use Citrix on the iPad to access various clinical applications. I attempted to upload in to YouTube, but kept getting an error. I’ll try again later. If you want to see the elongated version of the videos simply go to YouTube and type in “Kaweah Delata iPad“, or something similar, and several options will pop up.

Electronic prescription pad on your iPhone

ScriptPad is an electronic prescription pad for the iPad and iPhone. I assume you could use an iPod Touch with access to Wi-Fi, but the company website doesn’t say one way or the other.

My brother and I were talking about doing something like this on the iPhone a couple of years ago. An electronic prescription pad on the iPhone makes perfect sense as the iPhone is so prevalent among healthcare professionals. Even though ScriptPad is promoted for both the iPhone and iPad I’m convinced the iPhone is a better option. Most people carry their iPhones with them at all times. I don’t think you can say that about most iPad users.

SciptPad is looking for beta testers. Check the website for more information.

ScriptPad e-Prescribing Demo from ScriptPad on Vimeo.

Slow progress in pharmacy automation and stale technology creates ho-hum interest

Recently I’ve been in bit of a blogging slump. The world of technology suddenly appears a little less exciting. In fact, I find myself thinking of current technology as boring. I read lots of blog posts and articles that refer to new technologies as “revolutionary”, but I haven’t seen much revolutionary technology lately. In fact, most of the new technology is simply an iteration of the same theme; or worse, recycling of an old theme.

Consumer technology is clearly ahead of healthcare with the exception of scanning devices like MRIs, which are pretty cool when you stop to think about what they do. However, some of the most recently vaunted consumer technologies are devices aimed at information consumption like the iPad or devices designed to access data and social media while on the go, i.e. the new crop of smartphones. It’s not really new technology per se, but rather a new application of already available technology.
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