It’s CES Week. If you’re not familiar, CES is the Consumer Electronics Show, the gathering of all things electronics, which takes place annually in Las Vegas. It runs from Thursday through Sunday this week. I’ve been told that CES is the largest trade show of any kind in the US.
While the real focus of products is in the consumer space (hence the name), there is a definite overtone of medical, especially with respect to tablets. Apple won’t be exhibiting at the show, as they tend to host their own events whenever they have a mega-product to announce. However, there is sure to be lots of discussion around tablets, as they constitute a product segment that’s growing at an amazing pace. Apple claims to have sold 7.4 million iPads in the device’s first six months (through September). And analysts claim that another 6.1 million were purchased in the final quarter of the year.
At CES this week, Motorola and Dell are expected to launch new tablet products. And the recently introduced Samsung Galaxy tablet, which runs the Android operating system, is pretty sleek. It’s smaller than the iPad, as are many of the competitors, but big enough for most applications. And we already know that designers are seriously considering Android for lots of medical applications.
It’s fair to assume that tablet PCs will have a significant impact in the medical space. That reminds of the last time I was at the doctor about two years ago (I don’t get to the doctor that often). I needed a prescription and, rather than write it out on the tradition prescription pad, my doctor pulled out a smart phone and attempted to send the prescription directly to my pharmacy.
The doctor admitted that he had just been trained on the phone that morning and wasn’t exactly sure what he was doing and decided it would be safe to provide a written prescription—just in case. But the interesting part to me was how excited the doctor was to embrace the new technology. I could definitely see where he could get way more use out of tablet, on which the doctor should be able to view my medical records. Assuming the security issues are worked out, which isn’t too far down the road, I see lots of tablets coming to all aspects of medical personnel pretty quickly.
Note that I'm not the only medical mind who is keeping an eye on CES this week. Check out what MD+DI's Heather Thompson had to say on the matter, where she discusses A Little Technology For Patients.