Epic developing iPad app as hospitals wrestle with how to deploy Apple's tablet

After releasing an iPhone app called Haiku earlier this year, privately held EMR vendor Epic Systems is developing Canto, a native app for the iPad, CMIO reports. And clinical leaders at Tampa General Hospital in Florida couldn't be more excited.

"Once iPads come into play, I have a vision for them being widely deployed throughout the hospital," Tampa General's Chief Medical Informatics Officer Richard L. Paula tells the magazine. "Doctors will be able to carry an iPad and access data during rounds as they walk from room to room, and they'll be able to show patients data on the device's screen face-to-face with the patient."

With as much as 10 hours of battery life and weighing in at just a pound and a half, Paula believes the Apple product is far superior to Windows-based tablet computers for a hospital environment. "We tried to roll out tablets in the ER before and they were a miserable failure," according to Paula. "They were unwieldy, heavy and the battery life was awful. The iPad solves those problems."

There's no date set for a Canto deployment, but Tampa General expects to have Haiku available to physicians with iPhones when the EMR goes live late next year.

Not all healthcare organizations are so sure about their iPad plans. Executives at the Pennsylvania State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Pennsylvania State College of Medicine are still trying to determine how to work iPads and other mobile devices into clinical workflows. "It's about how clinicians use of technology to help the care of the patient, it's not about the application or device," CMIO Dr. Christopher J. DeFlitch says. "The iPad has a role in the healthcare industry. The question is where and how does it compare to other devices."

To learn more:
- have a look at this online CMIO article
- see this related story about smartphones in medicine from the June print issue of CMIO

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