August 5, 2010


iPad Review: It's a Snazzy Device

I’ve been trying out an iPad for the past 2 weeks. It’s a WiFi-only model (no AT&T data service), and I’m very facile with a computer—and almost always have one with me—so the iPad would have to be very good to impress me. I’ve also tried e-prescribing on the iPhone (well, Generation I, so pretty slow) and Android phones, and found both very slow even with WiFi;  good only for occasional use like nights and weekends in my opinion.   But the iPad is a very different story. It’s snappy with good connection speed and a very snappy processor. Apple has also changed handling of pop-up menus which are much smoother to use than the old bottom-of-the-screen iPhone solution. I could use this device for all my e-prescribing without any concern.
Remember, though, that this is really more of a smart phone than a computer, based on the iPhone operating system. So I decided to see how it would work using it for other things as well. I’ve use it for ePocrates, email (using the on-screen keyboard in landscape mode), internet surfing, a few games (whoa…stay away from that – can you say addictive!), videos (note: Flash doesn’t work, but YouTube serves up videos that do work), music, and even LogMeIn to control my computer. For things where there’s a native app like email, web surfing and music (it is, after all, an iPod of sorts), it’s great. Controlling my computer worked, but without a mouse it was a little clumsy.  I also used it to take notes in meetings using a couple of different free note apps, and that worked very well. Photo-editing, not so much.
So here’s the bottom line. It’s a snazzy device with a good form factor; and, due to the processor speed and native apps, it works really well for routine chores including e-prescribing. It’s not a full computer, but the on-screen keyboard works well (there are wireless keyboards available but I haven’t tried those, nor do I need one).  I wouldn’t use it for EMR, photo/video editing, or spreadsheet work, but I have found myself more and more often carrying the iPad with me instead of my notebook computer.

About pkaufman

Schooled at MIT, Dr. Kaufman nurtured a strong interest in medical informatics while a Bowman Gray School of Medicine faculty member. After entering private practice he founded PiNK software in 1996 to produce EMR software, later becoming DrFirst’s chief medical officer upon its founding. He lectures nationally on various healthcare IT topics, and as a board certified gastroenterologist, he continues a limited clinical practice. Dr. Kaufman is a member of the Health IT Standards Committee, Privacy and Security Workgroup for ONC (Office of the National Coordinator for Healthcare Information Technology). Representing the American Gastroenterology Association’s (AGA), Dr. Kaufman is a delegate to the AMA and was the co-chair of the Physicians Electronic Health Record Consortium (PEHRC). He has participated on workgroups at CCHIT (stand-alone e-prescribing), HIMSS (e-prescribing), and NCPDP (e-prescribing).