iPad strikes out big at Seattle Children's

The Veterans Administration might want to talk to Seattle Children's Hospital before it starts buying those 100,000 iPads. According to a recently published article in CIO, the tablet devices were a complete flop in a small test run at the Washington facility.

While it's true iPad use is growing exponentially in healthcare, not one of the Seattle clinicians who used them were convinced.

"Every one of the clinicians returned the iPad, saying that it wasn't going to work for day-to-day clinical work," hospital CTO Wes Wright told CIO. Clinicians' big beef: electronic medical record access was simply too clunky for their workflow. Legacy systems can be ported onto a mobile platform relatively easily, according to CIO. However, the size, design and setup of a desktop-developed EMR screen doesn't translate well onto the smaller screen size of a tablet.

Another big disconnect between tablets and EMR systems became patently obvious during the Seattle test: EMR systems are designed for access via mouse and keyboard, not tablet touchscreens with tap, swipe and slide functionality.

One particular clinical app at the hospital, which had been enabled for tablet use but not natively designed for it, took up "a lot of screen real estate so you can get the big picture view of the patient. The app [was too] point-and-click, mouse-and-keyboard driven," Wright said.

It's not a complete lost cause, though, according to Wright. He tells CIO he has seen new app development kits that may help hospitals retool their desktop-based EMRs for use on tablets and other mobile devices.

What's more, not all hospitals share the same view as Seattle Children's. As we wrote about last year, physicians at several Chicago-area hospitals--including MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island and University of Chicago Medical Center--have embraced the devices.

To learn more:
- read the CIO article