iPad functionality could further drive healthcare adoption of tablet computers

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As many healthcare IT professionals and clinicians focus their attention on interoperability issues, the functionality of Apple’s new iPad could encourage adoption of tablet computers in healthcare, reports Information Week.

Specifically, the iPad’s Bluetooth 4.0 features enable physicians to directly access data gathered by home medical monitoring devices, providing them with real-time information on patient health conditions. One benefit of this approach is the elimination of the need to connect patients to machines in clinical settings with wires and electrodes.

“Bluetooth data collection sensor devices on the body can gather heart rate, temperature, pulse rate, weight, glucose levels, etc. and transmit that data directly to the iPad when the patient is in the healthcare facility, or to a Web portal that is monitored by the healthcare provider when the patient is at home,” Mike Foley, director of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, told the news source.

Other potential benefits of the technology include increased accuracy of medical information. Rather than rely on an individual to manually enter the values of a patient’s vital signs into a medical informatics system, physicians can transmit this data directly to the software, reducing the margin of error and the time taken to input the information.

The new iPad also utilizes 128-bit military grade encryption to protect valuable or sensitive information, something of key concern to many healthcare providers in light of recent unauthorized breaches of patient health information.

According to Executive Insight, the potential implications of breaches in data security for healthcare organizations go beyond risks to the patient. The news source reports that the frequency of lapses in information security has increased the financial implications of unauthorized data access to more than $2.2 million per incident.