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Already popular in the consumer marketplace, tablets are beginning to be widely used by physicians and other healthcare professionals to interact with EHRs. Touchscreen devices, such as smartphones and tablets are part of many people's day-to-day lives. The recent introduction of Windows 10 -- which hit high adoption levels in a short time period -- as well as the interest of many hospital CIOs in touchscreen devices, may require EHR vendors to change the way users interact with their systems.
Few users of tablets in healthcare settings chose to adopt mobile devices that made them switch from a mouse to using a stylus. Those against the stylus indicated it is more natural for them to use their fingers in general and when interacting with technology. Many healthcare employees that use Dell tablets or the Microsoft Surface Pro in a professional settings use touch functions even when they have a keyboard attached to the device's screen.
How vendors can cater to medical tablets
Considering the popularity of smartphones and tablets in healthcare environments, EHR vendors should see if it's feasible for them to offer more touchscreens in their products. While some vendors have already addressed this by developing separate apps dedicated to each of the commonly used mobile platforms (iOS, Android and Windows), now is the time to build more touch functionality into core client applications. Those applications are where users will be spending most of their time when working in an EHR system.
EHR vendors should look at integrating with the virtual assistant that comes with Windows 10 devices in some countries. Cortana -- artificial intelligence introduced in a previous version of the Windows Phone -- is not fully integrated with most recently-updated tablets, nor with those that ship with Windows 10 installed. In the first day after its release, Microsoft said more than 14 million devices were running Windows 10.
More touchscreen tablets and interactive virtual assistants will soon become part of the collection of devices and technology used during day-to-day operations within hospitals. This change will likely increase the demand for applications designed to make use of touchscreen capabilities. EHR vendors should see this trend as an opportunity to introduce new features and enhancements to their systems that will keep their customers and users happy.
About the author:
Reda Chouffani is vice president of development at Biz Technology Solutions Inc., which provides software design, development and deployment services for the healthcare industry. Let us know what you think about the story or the use of tablets in healthcare; email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact @SearchHealthIT on Twitter.
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