The question, “Can I use an iPad to access a patient’s electronic health record?” is heard often these days in health care IT departments. The answer is usually is no, because the iPad — a consumer device — lacks the level of security an enterprise environment needs. As demand for the iPad in health care grows, however, IT departments are beginning to look for ways to turn that no into a yes.
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One way to bring iPad support into the health care environment without compromising security is to use virtualization software. At Children’s Hospital Central California, the IT department chose to deploy VMware View to support upcoming projects involving advanced clinical systems and computerized physician order entry, or CPOE.
The hospital also plans to take advantage of the recently released VMware View Client application for the iPad, available for free in the Apple App Store. With the app, caregivers will be able to access a patient’s electronic medical record anywhere in the hospital via an iPad, said Kirk Larson, the hospital’s chief information officer.
The View Client app uses the PC-over-IP display protocol to give users access to their Windows desktops over a Wi-Fi or 3G network. To see a hands-on demo of the user experience on an iPad, check out Brian Madden’s video interview with VMware’s director of end-user computing clients. The demo shows how the app gives users an iPad-like experience when they access the Windows desktop — for example, they can use three fingers to bring up a keyboard on the screen. One limitation that Madden points out, however, is the lack of support for multitasking.
The app is available for the iPad only, but it supports iOS 4.2 and iOS 4.3, the iPad Keyboard Dock and Bluetooth keyboards. It’s expected that it will support the iPad 2.