Healthcare News & Insights

iPad Mini will be a hit in health care, survey says

Though Apple’s iPad Mini was just announced a few weeks ago, the device had been rumored to be in the works for months. And excitement for a smaller iPad had built up, especially among medical professionals. 

In a May poll, 62% of doctors said they’re currently using tablets in their practices. That was nearly the number that reported doing so in 2011. And the number may increase even more thanks to Apple’s latest offering.

One in three physicians said they plan to buy an iPad Mini, according to survey conducted by medical app developer Epocrates before the device was officially unveiled.

The iPad Mini, launched on October 23, is essentially a scaled down and less expensive version of the popular iPad tablet. It features much of the same internal hardware as the full-sized version, but with a 7.9-inch screen and a $329 price tag for a Wi-Fi-only, 16 GB edition.

That smaller size is the main reason the device looks like it’s already a success in health care. Among the physicians that said they’d buy an iPad Mini, 90% said its smaller size was their primary motivation. Survey respondents indicated that a smaller tablet would be easier to carry around between exam rooms and on hospital rounds and could even easily fit inside of a lab coat pocket.

Mobile EHRs still a challenge

While doctors may have success using the iPad Mini to view electronic health records or for other medical applications, the device’s smaller size won’t help with one of doctors’ biggest complaints about using mobile devices.

Many doctors say that entering data into a mobile EHR is too difficult, according to one report from research firm KLAS. Right now, 70% of doctors use a smartphone or a tablet to view EHRs — however very few of them are using those devices to enter data.

The problem is mostly due to screen size. Even on larger tablets such as the full-sized iPad, some doctors quoted in the report said it’s difficult to enter data when the touch keyboard takes up two-thirds of the screen.

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