Daily Dose of iQ: iPads, Tablets Push Shift from Paper to Digital Data

Apr 28, 2011 — Tony Burbage

CBC News reported last week (April 20), that an Ottawa hospital ordered 1,800 iPads. These are in addition to the 500 iPads hospital staff were already using.

“Staff are saying the shift to using iPads to store data electronically is putting the health facility at the forefront of North American hospitals, allowing doctors to examine X-rays, make notes and prescribe treatments while taking the X-rays along with them during patient consultations,” wrote CBC News.

With the proliferation of this technology, it’s not hard to imagine doing virtual consultations (i.e. the patient doesn’t even have to go to the hospital to see the doctor). This would reduce all kinds of costs and inconveniences, including transportation, facility usage, waiting rooms and administration costs.

The news struck me because it’s an example of a bigger trend, a universal move towards mobile computing. The shift from paper data (documents, files and massive filing cabinets) to interactive, digital and mobile data is happening all over the world.

Of course, the adoption of database technology requires people to sacrifice privacy and security in the name of convenience, speed and access to information. Sony learned this the hard way, this week.

Nevertheless, even beyond the medical industry, there are all types of organizations (e.g. police departments, personal trainers and car dealerships) seeing the benefits of iPad access to centralized digital data storage. The newfound data mobility is helping them serve customers and stakeholders better.

We’re starting to see a lot of businesses employing tablet technology, like restaurants using iPads instead of POS terminals in the building (saves space and the back-and-forth between the POS and customers’ tables). Wine bars have begun listing their wines, information about each wine, its region and suggested food pairings on an iPad menu.

The verticals are endless, really, and you can see the shift everywhere:

Topics: Privacy, Wireless Trends, Mobile Industry, Customer Experience

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