News ▶ Android

Open architecture wins in the end?

The tablet market was essentially created by Apple with the introduction of the iPad in April 2010. At that time Samsung had no credible offering, leaving Apple clear to clean up the market. With dozens of new manufacturers rushing into the tablet market recently, many of them running versions of Google’s Android operating system, the market dominance of the iPad will clearly diminish. Nevertheless, the iPad and other iOS devices will remain a massive market for app developers who will aggregate wherever there is a large customer pool for their products.

Recently, Palomar Pomerado Health, a large hospital system just north of San Diego, announced the development of a tablet application that will allow their physicians full access to patient health records. Already promised is connectivity with three major EHRs: Cerner, NextGen and the Veterans Administration’s VistA system. The application was previewed at the recent HIMSS meeting in Orlando. It was developed using the Android mobile operating system and was funded in part by Cisco, who is providing the wireless infrastructure for a planned new hospital by the health system.

Integrating patient data across multiple clinical information systems and EHRs is difficult, unglamorous work. However, the relatively easy revenue from paid downloads will become a diminishing source of revenue in the future. Specifically, Research2Guidance predicts that, in the future, value will revert to device sales, monitoring & other medical services and advertising. This will further reinforce the model of apps distribution by health and IT providers, rather than being selected and downloaded by end users.

Android tablets from multiple manufacturers

This announcement is interesting in a few key respects: it neatly aligns with a prediction made by Research2Guidance and highlighted on this site that future medical applications will be provided by healthcare institutions, not App stores the app developers did not choose to develop on Apple’s iOS; their stated reason was that “they are not allowed to delve as deeply into the computer’s inner workings as they are [with Android]“ the app’s real value is not in its presentation layer but rather in its integration with multiple EHRs The latter point is highlighted in this quote regarding the app: It sounds like it’s really cool and valuable …, but I suspect the real value is in the back office cooperation that needs to exist to access the data. from Dr. Joseph Smith, chief medical and science officer at the nonprofit West Wireless Health Institute in neighboring La Jolla, in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Portable healthcare

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