The 9.7 inch LED, multi touch, 1024 by 768 pixel display is breath taking. Seeing radiology images is going to be a breeze on this device. I can’t wait to see how the iPad version of OsiriX and iRadiology will look on the iPad.
Unfortunately, only apps that have been customized for the iPad can really utilize this display. Most of the apps we mentioned in our “Top 5 Medical Apps for the Upcoming iPad” post have not been customized for the iPad yet – leaving much to be desired from the user experience offered by them on the iPad. All iPhone apps will run on the iPad, but unless they have been customized for the iPad, the screen resolution on the apps is pixilated and not aesthetically pleasing. We’ll touch on this in our conclusion.
Reading on the iPad is also done with ease. The following are screen shots of the app, “Papers”, an app that allows you to search and store medical literature easily on your device. The following screen shots are of the iPad version of this app, and we’ll have a full review of it later this week.
At first, when I started using the iPad, the keyboard was frustrating. It feels awkward holding your fingers in traditional keyboard stance, and then not having feedback when you push down. If I had posted a review the first day I had the iPad, this section would have been relatively negative. With that said, after some use, I think the keyboard is relatively functional.
I’m surprised by how fast I can now type with it. It definitely takes longer than a traditional keyboard, but not by much. Apple is selling a keyboard that will connect directly to the iPad, or you have the option of using a bluetooth keyboard that can sync with the iPad for typing, a more practical method. There are a whole host of other iPad accessories already available or in the works.
Having handwriting recognition capability for the iPad is going to be essential for healthcare point of care use. We’ve mentioned this in a previous post, and hopefully the iPad software updates will produce this functionality.
The battery life is stunning on this device. Apple claims you can squeeze approximately 10 hours out of it, but other reviewers have been able to get more. From my use of the iPad so far, I’d have to agree. A long battery life is essential and really a competitive advantage over other tablets, especially other healthcare tablets.
If you want to use the iPad as a medical reference in your practice, or as a means to show patients pictures or videos, the battery life will be of no concern to you.
If you plan to use the iPad in your health care practice, I’d suggest the below case:
It folds around to cover the iPad’s screen, and can also be propped up in the above fashion. This case enables you to talk to a patient while easily being able to use one or two hands to type or search for key information. Again, handwriting recognition will be key.
*Above is a picture of the iPad in relation to a large Dunkin Doughnuts coffee and a pen. (Essential “accessories”)
Overall, I was pleased with what the iPad had to offer. The device was significantly faster than I anticipated and the screen was brilliant. Does this mean medical professionals should go out and get the iPad for their clinic use? Not necessarily.
We’ll have another post in the next day or two explaining some of the pitfalls of the App Store in relation to the lack of medical applications customized for the iPad. The iPad is only as good as the App Store, and I mentioned some of display issues with apps above. We’ve been talking to developers of medical applications, and will fill you in on what they are doing to make sure their iPhone medical apps are fully utilizing the iPad and delivering a great user experience.