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Is The Microsoft Surface Perfect For Hospitals?

Posted on January 28, 2013 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

It’s no secret that there are a few tablets that rule the tablet world. There’s the iPad, obviously, and then the Samsung Galaxy 2, and even the Google Nexus 7. And most of these tablets run with either the iOS or Android. Since many apps that physicians are probably using run with one of these two systems,

However, Microsoft’s attempt to jump into the tablet marketplace might just be a game-changer, and app developers may want to consider it. With the announcement that the Surface, the tablet created by Microsoft, will be shipping out with the new Windows 8 OS. And according to HIStalk Mobile, this might be the perfect tablet for hospitals. Here are a few of the reasons listed:

  • Microsoft is the first company to offer a tablet and laptop that have identical operating systems.  This will “reduce the learning curve, and thus the productivity loss, of a first-time tablet user.”
  • The Surface will be able to run Windows 8 Pro, which means it has the capability of running PC-based software without Citrix or VMware connection. This is the first tablet that can do this, so EMR software, barcode scanner drivers, and more can be used directly from the tablet.

I’ll admit, when my husband and I were looking at tablets a few weeks ago, we were very tempted by the Surface, but decided against it, mainly because of the lack of apps available. The article points out that this may not be the tablet “end-users would pick for themselves,” which I agree with. However, because of all the features, and its capability run EMR software, I think it’s definitely going to be a big competitor for physicians and hospitals to use. I’d love to see more apps for patients to be developed for it as well. I think that when that starts happening, Microsoft will really have secured a permanent spot in the tablet marketplace, especially for people wanting to use it for health-related purposes.

It will be interesting to see if it is as successful as anticipated with hospitals. I think for those that may not have gotten tablets because they are nervous about trying out the iOS or Android systems, it will be a tempting offering, especially if they already know and understand Microsoft.

Broadband Mobile Should Change mHealth Game

Posted on June 22, 2012 I Written By

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

You never know what you’re going to learn when you wander into a cell phone store,  other than being hit with some fairly slick marketing slicks and rapid-fire pitched on that sweet, sweet iPhone upgrade. (Sorry, letting my Apple lust get in the way here.)

In all seriousness, this time I learned something which excited the heck out of me. While this is probably old news to some readers, I was surprised to learn that the cellphone industry is now rolling out support for new mobile protocols allowing for dramatic improvements in broadband mobile speeds.

One standard, LTE, can offer peak downlink rates of 300 Mbps and peak uplinks of 75 Mbps.  LTE, which takes advantage of new digital signal processing techniques developed roughly 10 years ago, is being rolled out by more or less every major U.S. carrier. Existing 4G networks are should shoot up in capacity as well. The next revision of the family to which 4G belongs, standards-wise,  should have a throughput capacity of 627 Mbps.

So let’s bring this around to our ongoing EMR discussions.  What are the HIT implications of these mobile nodes having the throughput to process live streaming video, download multiple imaging studies, conference effortlessly with parties across the world and more?

Well, for one thing, it’s pretty clear that our idea of mHealth will have to change. It makes no sense to plan networks around data sipping apps like the current iPhone crop when you’ll soon have iPads, Android devices and even Microsoft’s Surface tablet drinking it in gulps.

Obviously, the whole notion of telemedicine will evolve dramatically, with roving doctors and nurses consulting effortlessly over mobile video.  Skype calls will be as easy to conduct as traditional calls. And reviewing charts from the road will make much more sense, including looks at, say, CT scan results.

But all of this wonderfulness will be severely constrained if EMR makers keep forcing clinicians to use their systems via mobile-hostile devices. This is the time — this month, week and even day — to admit that desktop computers aren’t the platform of choice for smart clinicians.Vendors will have to step up with native clients for remote devices, and moreover, clients that take advantage of the emerging high-speed phones and tablets. If they hang back, the whole mobile high-speed revolution won’t be happpening.