iPad tempts mobile CME app makers

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The Apple iPad gives physicians a new way to connect to courses, news and other educational content. But surveys disagree on whether medicine will adapt the tablet device.

Epocrates found that the iPad is receiving a warm reception from healthcare: nearly 20% of clinicians expressed plans to purchase one in a 350-person survey conducted by the mobile software firm.

The company said it is designing its medical-reference software to capitalize on iPad's large, touch-sensitive screen. At press time, a spokesperson was checking on plans for CME availability. Doctors, apparently, are also very excited. Nine percent said they planned to buy the iPad immediately, another 13% planned to buy it within the year, and 38% wanted more information.

But website Software Advice, fielding a survey of 175 people, about half of whom function in clinical roles, found that a third want a tablet, just not necessarily an iPad.

Apple's gadget only has a few of the top “must-have” features for healthcare use, as identified by respondents: Wi-Fi access, lightweight hardware and an ergonomic design. iPad “lacks a large number of features that healthcare professionals deemed important,” Software Advice concluded.

One group that has launched a mobile application for the iPad platform is the American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM), a group which educates clinicians on the latest findings in complementary, alternative and integrative medicine. Healthcare professionals can use the app to register for courses designated for AMA PRA Category 1 Credits. “Our app allows us to communicate with our constituents in an exciting and dynamic environment,” Drew McGray, VP of marketing for ACAM, said in a statement.

The conflicting findings, though, suggest that the iPad may not be an instant success in healthcare, or in CME.

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