Why The Tablet PC?

For on-the-go data entry, the traditional pen and paper has been a tough act to beat. A physician walks into the examination room, opens the patient's chart, and makes notes throughout the exam. But the efficiency of paper-based medical records breaks down in a hurry compared to electronic data capture. The stacks of paper generated by traditional patient charts make it difficult to search and sort through, especially when a patient is being seen by multiple healthcare professionals. And too often, the patient record simply isn't available. Physicians report that their staff spends up to 10% of their time pulling, refiling, or hunting for misplaced charts.

As technology was introdced , and such devices as the Palm Pilot and the Pocket PC began appearing in medical offices, physicians could access information anytime, from anywhere. But the drawbacks of the small screen sizes and lack of processing power placed a limit on how much information could be displayed at one time.

A Tablet PC provides wireless access to data whenever and wherever it's needed, and it has a screen size that approximates a piece of paper.

Although the Tablet PC is being used with custom applications by different industries around the world, it seems especially perfect for medicine because its design mimics the patient chart physicians have been jotting their notes in for years.

If you haven't yet seen one, the Tablet PC gets its name because it resembles an electronic tablet, something that can be held in one hand, like a clipboard, as you write on its screen with your other hand using a pen-like device called a stylus.

These tablets look simple, but they contain incredible computing horsepower on the hardware side, and often have the Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition operating system (a superset of Windows XP Professional).Because all Tablet PCs include support for wireless communication, you can seamlessly connect with your electronic medical records (EMR) system—using built-in security to protect patient privacy and data integrity.

To be sure, a traditional notebook can perform many of these functions, but it lacks the natural visibility that comes from the Tablet PC. With a notebook, a physician visiting a patient in the exam room must have a flat space for the computer, or locate a chair, and try to keep the notebook from sliding off his lap. And bedside manner goes downhill as the physician breaks eye contact to concentrate on the screen and keyboard.

With a Tablet PC, the physician walks into the examination room with the patient's complete medical record in the crook of one arm like a clipboard. Data gathering is completely unobtrusive, and the Tablet PC, which typically has 20 to 80 gigabytes of hard drive space, can hold all the records that once were stored in a room full of filing cabinets and more.