Victorian hospitals get 500 iPads


The Victorian State Government has unveiled a program where 500 iPads will be delivered to a number of hospitals in the state, as the Brumby Labor government continues to show a great deal of interest in the Apple platform.

The rollout will cost about $500,000, according to a statement issued yesterday by state health minister Daniel Andrews, and would see the iPads used by graduate doctors, nurse practitioners and advanced practice nurses to use while treating patients.

The trial will take place from January next year, although Andrews did not disclose which hospitals would get the technology.

“The iPads will allow doctors and nurses to access any web-enabled application run by their hospital as they move around the hospital, as well as allowing them to tap into health information resources,” he said. “The iPads will connect via the wi-fi networks that allow secure, safe wireless connectivity within the hospital while not affecting other important and sensitive electronic patient care equipment.”

The Victorian Government will assess the benefits of the trial before further expanding the project.

The news comes several months after Victorian Premier John Brumby announced the state would buy more than 500 iPads to be distributed to schools in another trial of the tablet devices.

“This trial will allow us to understand the impact of iPads on student learning and communication, and on the way teachers plan and deliver curriculum in the classroom,” said Brumby in a statement at the time.

But not everyone in the public sector eco-system has been so enthusiastic about the new Apple technology.

The chief executive of South Australia’s health department issued a sternly worded letter to all staff in late May warning them off corporate purchases of Apple’s flagship iPad device until the department’s IT team could properly assess the device.

SA Health CEO Tony Sherbon told staff that while the potential use of the iPad within SA Health might be significant, the department needed to fully assess the device before it was implemented — with concerns around the security of patient information being one potential issue.

Image credit: Apple


  1. IT departments tend to wait for versions n + 1 before purchasing / upgrading. Makes sense to wait that a product has been tried, tested and patched up.

    But a $500,000 pilot is an expensive one. Especially for such a new piece of technology that hasn’t been designed for healthcare.

    For every good feature the iPad has to offer Motion’s C5v Healthcare Tablet PC has 10. This is a tablet that has been specifically designed for hospitals. It’s tried and tested and will probably not shatter when dropped. Or short circuit when a liquid is spilt on it.

    I work for Gov and just recently had my browser upgrade from IE6 to IE7 so I’m all for innovation and being quick off the mark with embracing new technologies. But this is just stupid.

  2. Yes, the Motion Computing C5 is purpose built for health, but it costs 8-10x as much as an iPad and most of the cute little hardware features don’t work with currently available hospital software and are hence nullified.

    Price is the killer feature here, something someone using IE7 who believes they are “quick off the mark” may struggle to understand.

    • I think his point about ie7 was that the govt IT departments are slow in upgrading their software and that he is all for being quick to adopt new technologies. No, actually, it is blatantly clear that that is what he meant…

  3. Vanilla Rice,

    I don’t know what software is used in hospitals but I’m pretty sure their systems will struggle to integrate via an iPad app. If they are web based then they will work on other platforms, including the Motion.

    As far as the cost is concerned, well, like most systems you need to take into considerations all sorts of factors. If Motions’ tablet performs better then a higher cost is justified over the longer term, I’m sure you will agree.

    Price could well be the killer feature here, you’re right. But in the true sense of the word given the context ;)

    PS. I use the latest browsers are home. At work I don’t have the option, I’m afraid.

    • “I don’t know what software is used in hospitals but I’m pretty sure their systems will struggle to integrate via an iPad app. If they are web based then they will work on other platforms, including the Motion.”

      Antiquated crap peddled by slow moving international software vendors is the answer to the first bit, so yes native iPad apps of a comparable feature set to the entrenched desktop software are a long way off. There are some US centric apps that deal with a very small subset of hospital functionality, but these plug gaps on the margin in the main and are mostly pitched at individual clinicians, not hospital enterprises.

      Citrix and TS apps open up the iPad (and the impending flood of similar devices we are starting to see) to the health space nicely however. As this is how most C5s (and equivalents by Panasonic) are deployed to minimise the risk of clinical data going walk about on stolen devices, the operating system and applications become a non issue when making comparisons with the iPad. Apple-sanctioned stylus input would be a nice addition for the iPad I concede.

      I guess the main point is that if a C5/Panasonic device was $1000, its health-specific credentials would count for something….however if you’re a hospital CIO and want to rollout mobile computing, would you prefer to give every fifth clinician a C5 or every single clinician an iPad wrapped in a $40 case?

      Couldn’t resist the IE snipe – sorry!

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