iPad 2 showed immediate promise

By Molly Merrill
11:12 AM

When Apple introduced its much-anticipated iPad 2 in March, the event featured a video in which John Halamka, MD, chief information officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, highlighted the clinical uses of the new technology.

“Sometimes doctors are overwhelmed with data," said Halamka. "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.”

The iPad, Halamka concluded, “will change the way doctors practice medicine.”

In a recent survey by the healthcare communications company Aptilon, 79 percent of U.S. healthcare professionals said they would choose Apple's iPad for professional use. Among respondents who 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 plan to acquire 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 an 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.”

Features of the iPad 2 include a new design that is 33 percent thinner and up to 15 percent lighter than the original iPad, while maintaining 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.

The iPad 2 Smart Cover 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 the iPad 2 when it's opened and puts it to sleep when it's closed.

“The iPad 2 has much more functionality and speed than the original,” said Kathryn L. Owen, a nurse and clinical informatics documentation consultant at The Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

But she said she is still concerned about the durability. “The magnetic cover is very nice but there still needs to be a protective housing if it is going to be considered medical grade,” she said, adding that she believes the “functionality just keeps getting better and better,” which will make it “very marketable and desirable in the healthcare field.”