I am platform agnostic.
I have a Mac desktop computer, a Windows laptop, and an Android phone.
When it comes to operating systems and the devices they control, I find the maxim ‘don’t believe the hype‘ usually stands me in good stead.
Whilst the fact that Apple’s iPad is currently leading the way in tablet computing is undeniable, some of the rather more effusive outpourings the announcement of the iPad 2 has generated with regard to its potential to ‘revolutionize’ healthcare surely need to be kept in perspective… don’t they?
If I’m seeing this wrong, be sure to call me out.
However, my take is that the understandably aggressive commercialization of the iPad 2 is likely to benefit Apple rather more than it does the majority of healthcare stakeholders on the basis that:
a) Apple has a monopoly on the sale and distribution of apps, and
b) Apple refuses to share end-user data with developers, in any context.
Obvious points about measuring improvements to patient outcomes, exclusion, geographies and financing aside, for me this second observation explodes the idea that the iPad 2 or any future iteration forced to labour under the same restrictions could ever have the potential to expedite some sort of universal amelioration of healthcare delivery.
It’s one of those things that just sound embarrassing when you say them out loud.
I would consider the fact that the iPad 2 will as a consequence never be a platform capable of resolving the EHR issue to be sufficient refutation of claims to universality, but then I’d be disquieted by any assertion that a particular tablet, mobile device or given piece of technology considered in isolation could achieve a similar goal, even without the constraints that Apple applies.
I maintain that asking ‘what problems can the iPad (or indeed any device) solve?’ before prioritizing the answers to the question ‘what problems in healthcare need to be solved?’ is looking at the world upside down.
Personally, I try to maintain some equilibrium in the face of the overly-enthusiastic response among some healthcare commentators that the announcement of any Apple product has a tendency to provoke in two ways:
2) I keep a very close eye on the work of Bertalan Meskó, MD.
Dr. Meskó, pictured above holding his tablet PC of choice (no, it isn’t an iPad) is a recently qualified MD, post-doctoral researcher, lecturer and healthcare publisher who for me exemplifies not only the next generation of connected healthcare professional, but also consistently displays the sort of even-handed, level-headed approach to the ‘design vs. delivery’ debate in healthcare that I fervently wish were more in evidence across the health conversation.