New iPad gets cautious kudos for healthcare

The debut next week of the iPad3, or "the new iPad" as Apple officials are calling it, has theIT world at large abuzz. But is it a slam-dunk for healthcare? A few of its new functions have certainly caught the eyes of healthcare providers.

The big one: The new "retina display," which experts say will make imaging a breeze on the new device. The display is supposed to completely dissipate the pixelization so common to tablets now, and fool the eye that it's seeing a true image, not a digital representation, according to a Q&A on the new iPad that ran in the UK's Guardian newspaper this week.

"For pictures and other display objects, the improved resolution is--from our limited experience--a bit like the change from standard TV to HDTV. You notice the change as a dramatic leap at first, then get used to it," the Guardian writes.

More core processing power, too, could alleviate some of the hiccups for tablet use in healthcare. The new iPad has an A5X, quad-core processor, which reviewers at predict will make apps run faster, plus allow easier movement between apps and other software on the device. They even project that "the faster processor could help with screen sharing and remote control apps (e.g. Citrix)," which would be a relief for the host of hospital CIOs using Citrix porting for their EMRs.

Faster processing could solve one problem identified in an imaging study last year, which found that iPad2's, while equal to LCD monitors for viewing, were about twice as slow in accessing the images.

The new 5 mega-pixel camera may make the iPad a real player in the telehealth market, iMedicalApps opines. The A5X processing, combined with the new cameras ability to record video in 1080p HD resolution, could "offering increasing resolution in a telehealth care setting," they say.

One rather unexpected development is a new button allowing users (i.e., physicians) to dictate. It's unclear yet whether the dictation software can handle medical terms, but it certainly offers the ability to record patient notes and enter discrete data into an EMR application, iMedicalApps reviewers say.

We checked into a brief LinkedIn debate this week, and users seem to be divided over the iPad3s fit for healthcare. One eagerly anticipated the better screen resolution and faster speeds. However, another warned that old problems still remain in the new iteration--keyboards that are tough to use one-handed, lack of true stylus support (for onscreen signatures, etc.), and the 10" screen size, which forces uses to scroll or slide to see everything on a patient record.

To learn more:
- dig into's review of the iPad 3's usefullness in healthcare
- check out the LinkedIn chat about the iPad 3 in healthcare
- read the Guardian's Q&A about the new iPad functionality