[FoRK] Hospital orders 100 iPads [2]

Ken Meltsner meltsner at alum.mit.edu
Thu May 6 10:32:05 PDT 2010

On Thu, May 6, 2010 at 11:56 AM, Christopher Herot <cherot at herot.com> wrote:
> http://www.masshightech.com/stories/2010/04/26/weekly14-Health-care-provider
> s-rely-on-mobile-computing.html
> Some problems that are obvious in hindsight:
> .        Most health-care systems require strong passwords - difficult to
> type on virtual keyboards

The requirement (HIPAA) is for strong authentication; you can get that
in a variety of ways -- e.g. handwriting analysis, proximity sensor +
active badge, etc.    Some sort of non-password authentication will
turn out to be uniquely suited to iPads, i suspect.

And existing systems are handicapped by users sharing passwords,
disabling screensaver locks, etc.  Good security practices aren't
entirely consistent with fast access to records, after all, so I don't
think strong passwords and active password management (expiration
every month, etc.) are that effective in most environments.

> .        The strong disinfectants they need to use can make a mess of a lot
> of consumer-grade devices

Very true.  Lots of devices are bagged in the sterile equivalent of
Zip-Loc bags so they don't have to be sterilized.  This may be an
issue if it screws up touchscreen input.

> .        Pirchasing cycles are really long, so some places may not use
> tablets for several years

Yes, but everyone will be bellying up to the trough to get the latest
and greatest stuff.

I think one key element is moving away from personalized devices --
user-specific content stored on each device -- towards "grab one from
the stack over there and sync it" but that's just opinion.  If you
agree, Windows and other "real" computers tend to maintain too much
state locally unless the folks configuring them set up repeatable
provisioning and configuration tools.

Ken Meltsner

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