A PC for your pocket that’s not a Pocket PC

Motion Computing has announced a Tablet PC that’s small enough to fit in a physician’s lab coat pocket. That’s a key issue for physician workflow and will facilitate physicians’ embrace of electronic medical records, communication tools such as RelayHealth, and e-prescribing.

The LS800 is a full featured computer that incorporates handwriting recognition, fingerprint security, WiFi, Bluetooth, and the ability to connect with full-sized peripherals. Motion CEO Scott Eckert is a former colleague of mine from LEK; he and his head of health care, Joel French have done a great job listening to the needs of the health care community and I’m excited to see them launch the first device in this class.

I’ve been using a Motion M1400 as my primary computer for the past year and it’s pretty cool. I’m going to have to look into an upgrade…

July 7, 2005

2 thoughts on “A PC for your pocket that’s not a Pocket PC”

  1. Here’s the problem I have with Tablets and in healthcare. I’m a firm believer that the clinical application needs to drive the adoption of the Tablet, not the other way around. There’s no way I’m going to hand this to my physicians unless their job was made easier for CPOE or obtaining results. Tablets aren’t entirely useless – they do have a limited niche (ERs, registration).

    Until then, we still need keyboards so I’m hoping that I can push for the new IBM/Lenovo Thnkpad X41 tablet.

  2. As a doctor, I know that powerful decision support software that works on a white-coat pocket computer will drive adoption by doctors of such portable hardware. As a software developer, I also know that hardware that doctors can take to the bedside will drive software adoption because there is a huge advantage to being able to use advice about other findings to check while you are still in the same room as the patient.

    The software is crucial: a few weeks ago I showed our SimulConsult Neurological Syndromes diagnostic software on a Tablet to the dean of a major medical school. Previously he’d seen people use Tablets for note taking, and was not impressed by the serious uses for Tablets. Seeing useful decision support software gave him a much more positive impression.

    The hardware is also crucial: I carried around a larger Motion Computing Tablet PC at a medical conference last fall at which I gave an invited talk about our software. The universal response of doctors was that they would love to have such a computer but only if it would fit in their white coat pocket. The fact that Microsoft and Motion Computing have moved to flesh out this form factor suggests they are listening to customers and developers. Indeed Motion Computing’s text and photos about the LS800 make it clear that they are paying attention particularly to the health care sector.

    There is a chicken and egg issue here, with software advances/adoption driving hardware advances, and hardware advances driving software advances/adoption. For this reason, white-coat pocket size Tablets are a major advance. The importance of the small Tablets will be appreciated fully when sport jackets have white-coat size pockets and Tablets are produced in enough volume for prices to fall to the point where most people carry one around. But in the meantime, medical software developers are very excited about having doctors carry around real computers and are hard at work coming up with useful software.

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