Tablets in the Health IT Enterprise: What to Consider

As mobile device and app makers focus their attention on improving user experience and workflow issues, healthcare organizations continue to strive for the best mix of technology suitable for the enterprise.

Having spent the past few years deploying apps to smartphones and managing end user demand for the more feature and information rich tablets, health IT professionals are finding there’s a process for choosing the best tablet for their increasingly mobile workforces.

At Louisville, Ky.-based All Children Pediatrics, for example, CIO J. Barron Breathitt tells me his top-two criteria for laptops and tablets are reliability and durability.

The physicians practice group is using Fujitsu T730s and T731s, which typically are outfitted with the fastest i7 processors available to extend the lifespan of the units. Breathitt also has them configured with solid state drives to boost performance and durability.

Since the doctors at All Children Pediatrics require the ability to ink on the screen for signing and noting issues on charts, IT’s approach to selecting mobile devices centers largely around user acceptance and meeting interdepartmental goals--two metrics that fall in line with recent industry guidance.

Recently, J. Gold Associates released a white paper entitled, Picking the Right Enterprise Tablet: Things to Consider. Among the practical steps healthcare organizations can take to match tablet choice with end user and corporate requirements, the research recommends adopting the following seven-step approach:

• Create a strategic vision. In other words, think proactively, not reactively.

• Look beyond the device. Better to focus on the solution.

• Define requirements. Start by determining your specific goals.

• Build an app portfolio.

• User acceptance is critical.

• Support users while planning for obsolesence.

• Determining technology/infrastructure requirements.

If you haven’t read it yet, I recommend checking it out here.

Tablets offer many advantages to mobile workforces, and the technology’s role in healthcare is clearly established and growing. Formulating a sound tablet strategy, based on analysis, is the best way to support the deployment and utilization of tablets across the healthcare enterprise.

Doing so will enable the technology to achieve its full potential while helping your organization cut costs, satisfy end users, and deliver a higher quality of care.

What questions do you have about tablets in health IT?

As a B2B journalist, John Farrell has covered healthcare IT since 1997 and is Intel’s sponsored correspondent. See his other Intel Healthcare blog posts here.