The iPad is a pretty cool device, as you may have gathered from our healthcare perspective comprehensive review of it. And with the iPhone OS 4.0 bringing some new features to this powerful platform, the iPad certainly has a lot of things going for it.
In particular, the enterprise and security features of the new operating system will further lower the barriers to adoption of the iPad in healthcare. We could finally have a user-friendly and practical mobile device on which to the access radiology images, enter orders, educate patients, and so on – the beginnings of a revolution in healthcare workflow.
However, whether the iPad will overcome the biggest hurdle of all – adoption by a generally late-adopting profession – remains up in the air. But at least one report suggests that this may not be that much of a hurdle after all.
Chitika Research is reporting some pretty surprising information on the demographics of early adopters of the iPad. According to their study of just under 75,000 iPad sales they found that 50% of iPad adopters also have a Windows computer in their home. You may recall in prior posts on the iPad in healthcare, one of our biggest concerns was whether the iPad could thrive in a Windows-world. Aside from issues about compatibility with Windows-based electronic health records (which the iPhone OS 4.0 takes a step towards answering), there was also the comfort of end users to consider.
Considering the fact that Windows machine dominate the consumer PC market, would healthcare providers, the majority being Windows-users, be comfortable with an iPad? Such a high number of Windows adopters suggests they would be. I am aware simple statistics skew some of this data and that given the dominance of Windows, its only natural to expect a high percentage of iPad adopters would be Windows users. But this high of a percentage still seems significant to me and I am inclined to believe the iPad “form factor” has been sufficiently impressive to a number of Windows users who may have been otherwise hesitant to purchase a Mac product.
The other interesting feature of their research is the fact that less than 10% of the iPad adopters have iPhones. In previous posts, we talked about how the widespread adoption of the iPhone would be a significant factor in lowering the barrier to entry of the iPad into medicine. And while the iPhone has certainly established Apple as a market leader in mobile technology, it seems that its reputation has spread well beyond the actual users of its products. In short, despite not actually having an iPhone, which is arguably just a small iPad, consumers are sufficiently aware of the products, capabilities, and usability of this family of products. So there’s no reason to expect that non-iPhone users in healthcare would feel any differently.
All in all, this data is encouraging for the medical iPad. We certainly see a lot of opportunity in the device to find innovative new ways to practice medicine. And, based on the data here, it seems like a lot of other healthcare providers (who, on an individual basis, should be no different than general consumers) will agree – even if they’ve never used an iPhone or a Mac.