With the BlackBerry enterprise software platform, RIM's PlayBook tablet may be a fit for the health care industry.
Research In Motion positions its new BlackBerry
PlayBook tablet for the enterprise, it may focus some of its marketing
efforts on the health care field.
health care organizations already equipped with BlackBerry smartphones and
relying on the security the device brings, the PlayBook could be a natural fit
for hospitals and doctor's offices to deploy as well.
Using the library application, physicians would be able to open or preview a
record and also browse images before sending them to a RIM smartphone and
perhaps a PlayBook tablet. Physicians at the least will be able to view these
applications on the PlayBook via a Bluetooth connection from a BlackBerry
smartphone using the larger screen.
Lazaridis, RIM's president and co-CEO, noted
in his keynote address at DevCon that the new PlayBook with its 7-inch display
is a larger view of what you'll see on BlackBerry smartphones, without a need
for new software, security or a data plan.
addition, he said, the BlackBerry Tablet OS is built on the QNX Neutrino
microkernel architecture, which runs equipment in the medical field.
at DevCon, Mark Willnerd, president and CEO
of TouMetis, a developer of mobile applications for health care and finance,
displayed a medical application for orthopedic surgeons that would allow a
BlackBerry smartphone or PlayBook to be used to collaborate on designs for knee
the application was demonstrated on the BlackBerry Torch, TouMetis expects it
to be available on the PlayBook in the future, according to Marshall Brezonick,
the company's vice president of marketing.
expectation is that as we move forward we'll have compatibility with the
PlayBook," Brezonick told eWEEK. "RIM is certainly in a better
position than most to bring about change, and the BlackBerry PlayBook could
really play a significant role in the transformation of the system," he
said, referring to the health care industry.
to Brezonick, health care professionals have expressed an interest in using the
PlayBook because of the BlackBerry platform's security measures and HIPAA (Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliance.
other BlackBerry devices, the PlayBook will have better 'genes' for health care
because it will be ready with enterprise security from day one," Shahid
Shah, CEO of technology consulting
company Netspective Communications and author of the Healthcare IT Guy blog, wrote in an
e-mail to eWEEK.
PlayBook's health care applications will likely be more secure than the Apple
iPad's iOS, but perhaps not more so than the Dell Streak's Android OS, which is
also a secure platform, Shah suggested. In addition, the PlayBook will likely
incorporate remote-management capabilities suitable for mobile health
applications, he said.
"If BlackBerry hopes to make inroads in health care, they need to have
automatic provisioning, deprovisioning, and remote manageability and inventory
capabilities for the PlayBook," Shah wrote. Provisioning and
deprovisioning entails assigning and unassigning users on a remote enterprise
Shah also noted that if RIM is "smart about signing up the army of Java
app developers to come develop for PlayBook, it would make the new tablet a
force to reckon with in health care."
Malkary, founder and managing director of Spyglass Consulting Group, told eWEEK
that he didn't see much potential for use of the PlayBook in health care due to
the nonruggedized structure and inability to keep the units sanitized.
argued that a
rugged device from Motion Computing would be a better fit for health care,
especially with the likelihood of the tablets being dropped.
use the PlayBook in health care environments "would require many of the
health care IT vendors to redesign their applications to take advantage of the
form factor," Malkary told eWEEK.
PlayBook will be available in the United States
in early 2011.
Brian T. Horowitz is a freelance technology and health writer as well as a copy editor. Brian has worked on the tech beat since 1996 and covered health care IT and rugged mobile computing for eWEEK since 2010. He has contributed to more than 20 publications, including Computer Shopper, Fast Company, FOXNews.com, More, NYSE Magazine, Parents, ScientificAmerican.com, USA Weekend and Womansday.com, as well as other consumer and trade publications. Brian holds a B.A. from Hofstra University in New York.