In the last few years, expectations about patient privacy information, medical services, data retention, and health care provider availability have risen dramatically. These expectations have been largely driven by the regulations, and many hospitals and medical practices have responded by adopting strategic initiatives to increase worker mobility, enabling them to work more closely with patients and with peers. Overall, the independent market analyst, IDC, estimates that as many as 105 million workers will be considered mobile workers by 2006.
Despite the drive to increase mobility and to move to an electronic medical record system, many organizations continue to rely on paper patient records, insurance forms, written prescriptions, and hard copy diagnostic images, including MRIs, ultrasound and film x-rays. This dependency on paper and hard copy can cause gaps in patient information, especially when health professionals need to work outside the office. New Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) patient privacy regulations have added another layer of complexity and recordkeeping.
Forward-thinking health care providers have armed their mobile workers with notebook PCs and personal digital assistants (PDAs) to provide them access to information while away from their office computers.
The Tablet PC combines the best features of paper, notebook PCs, and PDAs. It provides users with a complete solution to mobile computing, eliminating the trade-offs mobile users were forced to make in the past.