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Doctors prescribe iPad Mini: a perfect lab coat fit

November 9, 2012 02:16 PM ET

Asked what sets the iPad Mini apart from other small tablets, such as the Google Nexus 7 or tablets specifically made for physicians, such as the Motion C5v Tablet, Vadney said familiarity was the key feature.

"I trust and have been happy with the iPad and all of my Apple products. They seem to be well built, deliver what is promised, and have been around for a while, and [Apple continues] to work towards improving the product," he said.

The only drawback to the iPad, Vadney said, is that it's not designed specifically for medical use. For example, iOS lacks a central file management system, so files become associated with specific apps, and it's hard to use files with other apps. Android tablets, meanwhile, do have a central file management system.

Epocrates and other medical app providers, such as Medscape and Skyscape, make their products available on both iOS and Android-based tablets.

Marianne Braunstein, vice president of product management at Epocrates, said the company was excited about the iPad Mini because it's another device that supports the company's healthcare workflow. She said her company's physician clients were particularly happy that Apple kept the iPad's user interface rather than using the iPhone's interface.

"On the iPhone, there are only so many things you can do with the real estate, so physicians may need more tabs to open with that," she said. "The iPad has a larger form factor, so the same information can be presented on the screen even if it's a smaller size."

For example, drug monographs are highly detailed and thoroughly documented studies on drugs that, if presented on an iPhone, would require a physician to select multiple tabs in order to find an adult or pediatric dosing recommendation.

"Whereas all of that information can be nicely listed in one flow and with one swipe on the iPad," Braunstein said.

Rhoda Alexander, an analyst at IHS iSuppli, said the iPad Mini provides the functionality healthcare providers need.

While the iPad Mini's screen resolution isn't as sharp as that of third- or fourth-generation iPads, "the greater portability is likely to outweigh that consideration in this particular purchase decision for many," Alexander wrote in an email to Computerworld.

IHS hasn't surveyed physicians to find out what they think about the iPad Mini, but Alexander said the device seems "a natural match" for the medical profession, given the fact that physicians showed early interest in iPhones and were quick to adopt the original iPads. "The smaller, lighter size has key advantages," she said, noting that it enables medical staffers "to keep hands free when not using the tablet" because they can store it securely "in an easily available pocket," she wrote.

covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at Twitter @lucasmearian, or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed Mearian RSS. His email address is

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