iPad 2 looks even better for docs

By Molly Merrill
10:29 AM

Apple introduced the iPad 2 on Tuesday with a special event that included a video highlighting the technology's use in different fields, with an appearance by John Halamka, MD, chief information officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

"Sometimes doctors are overwhelmed with data," said Halamka on the video shown at Apple's launch event. "What we have tried to do on the iPad is give doctors at the point of care the tools they need at the exact moment the doctor can make a difference.

"We are finding with the iPad, is that doctors are spending more time with patients, in fact doctors are engaging patients by showing them images, showing them data on the screen," he added. "So it is empowering doctors to be more productive. But it has also brought doctors and patients together.

"So I think what is so exciting about the iPad is that it will change the way doctors practice medicine," Halamka concluded.

[See also: What happens when the iPad storm blows over?]

In a new online survey released Thursday 79 percent of U.S. healthcare professionals (HCPs) said they would choose Apple's iPad for professional use. The survey was conducted by Aptilon Corporation, which used its ReachNet Physician Access Channel to recruit HCP participation in a survey on tablet and mobile technology from Feb. 7-16.

Among the responding HCPs that already have an iPad, 59 percent said they use the device for medically related tasks, including receiving and reviewing information updates, as a tool during their standard practice and to complete paperwork.

The survey also found that about 38 percent of U.S. HCPs will own an Apple iPad within the next year. Additional respondents said they would use an iPad if supplied to them by a third party or an employer.

"The research indicates that the Apple iPad is going to be an ever more important part of a HCP's daily life as a tool to enhance productivity and remaining up to date with the latest developments in their medical field," said Aptilon COO Mark Benthin. "As the number of HCPs using iPads increases, Aptilon expects to see increasing opportunities for interactions between industry professionals and HCPs seeking relevant medical content using their tablets."

[See also:Docs use iPad to check on patient status, treatment.]

New features of the iPad 2 include a new design that is 33 percent thinner and up to 15 percent lighter than the original iPad, but maintains the same battery life. It features Apple's new dual-core A5 processor for improved speed and boosted graphics and comes with two cameras, a front-facing VGA camera for FaceTime and Photo Booth, and a rear-facing camera that captures 720p HD video – something that healthcare professional should find very handy.

The iPad 2 Smart Cover is also something that the healthcare industry ought to welcome. It provides protection for the iPad screen while maintaining its thin and lightweight profile. It is designed with a self-aligning magnetic hinge that makes it easy to attach and remove, and automatically wakes iPad 2 when it's opened and puts it to sleep when it's closed. The cover also includes a soft microfiber lining to help keep the screen clean.

Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO, said the iPad "has defined an entirely new category of mobile devices. While others have been scrambling to copy the first generation iPad, we're launching iPad 2, which moves the bar far ahead of the competition and will likely cause them to go back to the drawing boards yet again."

The Pad 2 with Wi-Fi will be available on March 11 with a suggested retail price starting at $499 for the 16GB model and up to $829 for the 64GB model.