Touch Computing: Increasingly Relevant to Healthcare

It's always tempting to get caught up in the promise of the next, new thing. Gestural computing and 3-D printing spring to mind as recent examples, as well as a variety of wearable tech gadgets that we’re told are just around the corner from being commonplace.

While I have no doubt these technologies will find their way into the mainstream, it seems more likely that, for health care providers, the highly-familiar-yet-presently-underutilized touch computing will offer the most real-world value over the next few years.

Consider Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini’s keynote address at HIMSS14, in which he made clear that healthcare costs are rising significantly, and keeping these costs down is a task to be shared by everyone. (When payers suddenly form a palpable presence at a tech show, it’s worth taking note.)

Mobile is now the norm in healthcare settings, and touch computing directly ties in with key best practices for the use of mobile in these environments (i.e.- using the right device for the right task, rearranging workflows to enhance collaboration, and focusing on the compute model in relation to the task at hand).

If the healthcare industry is to deliver on ACA’s stated objectives of improved quality of patient care and increased efficiencies across the system, then engagement is critical to enabling clinicians to do more with less. I’m thinking tablets and 2 in 1s (all fueled by touch) could be the lynchpin that ensures engagement not only among physicians and clinical staff, but patients as well.

In terms of cost, having one device instead of two (notebook and tablet) is a less expensive mobile touch alternative and provides a better tablet experience for users, not to mention a three-year cost savings of $1,470. Read more on the costs savings here.

If you’d like to see how clinicians are using touch computing to provide better care, check out this new SlideShare overview that details the power of touch in health IT. (see above also)

As a B2B journalist, John Farrell has covered healthcare IT since 1997 and is Intel’s sponsored correspondent.

Read John’s other blog posts