Since they were brought to market, the healthcare industry has dreamed of embracing tablets and leveraging the innovative technologies and features innate to these types of mobile devices. The ability to gather and access information with the touch of a fingertip, and carry it around wherever you go is invaluable for those working in this sector and a trend that is transforming the industry as we speak.
The launch of the first truly portable, user friendly and user experience (UX) rich tablet the Apple iPad, a revolutionary device in terms of mobile computing is changing the way in which the healthcare sector operates.
Regarding the iPad and other portable tablets, the healthcare industry was enthusiastic about their features and abilities, yet slow to jump on the bandwagon and truly adopt/embrace the technology. The reason for this slow adoption is primarily due to issues including security, privacy of patient information and data (regulations such as HIPAA), and integration with backend systems. Additionally, no one truly figured out how to create a compelling user experience for mobile applications in this space. There was a lack of understanding about which apps would be best suited for tablets in the healthcare segment.
This however, is all starting to change. The rapid adoption of tablets, including the iPad both in the consumer and enterprise world has put pressure on the healthcare industry to evolve and truly embrace this new technology. This pressure stems from increasingly prevalent industry trends and factors such as the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomena, the use of healthcare apps in the consumer sector, and the overall adoption of smartphones and other mobile devices by doctors, patients and vendors alike. All of these trends have brought a whirlwind of change to the healthcare sector.
The pressure to evolve was felt by healthcare industry segment, as other segments of the industry were adapting mobile technologies at a rapid pace, and the healthcare industry was increasingly being viewed as laggards. Perceiving this weakness, many entrepreneurs started writing apps for this segment as they realized that doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare personnel had acquired tablets and smartphones but they were lacking the apps to do their day to day work using these devices. There was a vacuum in this space, and this reinforced the pressure on the healthcare industry to move fast and close the gap.
Let’s take a closer look at the evolution of tablet adoption across the healthcare spectrum:
Doctors and nurses were the early adopters of tablets, which is no surprise given they were also the early adopters of smartphones, and today, are the demographic that uses them the most in the healthcare industry. Drugstores followed doctors and nurses as they searched for better, more efficient and more convenient ways to serve consumers. Drug stores began leveraging tablets to offer prescription and non-prescription drug order applications and provide store and pharmacy locations as well as drug-related information to patients.