The Health IT Tablet Shift and Some Hope for Windows 8

One of the most amazing shifts that we’ve seen in healthcare is the acceptance of the tablet form factor. I’ve been fascinated with tablets since they first came out. The idea was always great, but in implementation the idea always fell apart. Many a sales rep told me how the tablet was going to be huge for healthcare. Yet, everyone that I know that got one of the really early tablets stopped using it.

Of course, the tablets that I’m referring to our the pre-iPad tablets. As one Hospital CTO told me at HIMSS, “the iPad changed tablets.

It’s so true. Now there isn’t even a discussion of whether the tablet is the right form factor for healthcare. The only question I heard asked at HIMSS was if a vendor had a tablet version of their application. In fact, I’m trying to remember if I saw a demo of any product at HIMSS that wasn’t on a tablet. Certainly all of the EHR Interface Improvements that I saw at HIMSS were all demonstrated on a tablet.

As an extension of the idea of tablets place in healthcare, I was also interested in the healthcare CTO who suggested to me that it’s possible that the Windows 8 tablet could be the platform for their health systems mobile approach. Instead of creating one iPad app that had to integrate all of their health system applications, he saw a possibility that the Windows 8 tablet could be the base for a whole suite of individual applications that were deployed by the health system.

I could tell that this wasn’t a forgone conclusion, but I could see that this was one path that he was considering seriously when it came to how they’d approach mobile. I’m sure that many have counted out Microsoft in the tablet race. However, I think healthcare might be once place where the Windows 8 tablet takes hold.

When you think about the security needs of healthcare, many hospital IT professionals are familiar with windows security and so they’ll likely be more comfortable with Windows 8. Now we’ll just have to see if Windows 8 and the applications on top of it can deliver the iPad experience that changed tablets as we know them.