iPad Penetration At 80%? Methinks Not

Will Weider, CIO, Ministry Health Care & Affinity Health System

On October 4 Apple’s CEO said: “Over 80% of the top hospitals in the US are now testing, or piloting, the iPad.” This statement is a little misleading.

Firstly, he said “testing or piloting.” What is the number of hospitals that are actually buying and deploying iPads to use with their core clinical applications? I bet that number is less than 1%.

What exactly defines a “top hospital in the US?” Are those the ones that answered Apple’s calls? I have an Apple sales executive (Rachelle, who is a super nice woman) that periodically calls on me to keep track of what we are doing. When she last called, I told her we had a pilot taking place to test connecting employee-owned devices (including iPads) to our Exchange Server so our employees can get email and appointments.

That’s it, just a pilot. No roll-out. No commitment. Furthermore, it is just for Exchange connectivity. Still, I presume this means that our 15 hospitals are in that 80%.

But, in a picture, two men (with lab coats and stethescopes) are behind Cook, staring at an iPad. This might give the world the impression that 80% of the hospitals have doctors and nurses accessing electronic patient records on an iPad.

Not yet.

My organization is not going to deploy the current generation of Windows client applications on iPads just because they are cool. When core vendors produce native iPad apps (or properly formatted web apps) that will be the right time to look at radical device changes. And don’t talk to me about Citrix. Citrix on the iPad’s relatively tiny screen is a terrible user experience and not worth the cost to make a radical change to our device support model.

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