[FoRK] Hospital orders 100 iPads [2]

Sean Conner sean at conman.org
Thu May 6 15:00:06 PDT 2010

It was thus said that the Great Ken Meltsner once stated:
> On Thu, May 6, 2010 at 11:56 AM, Christopher Herot <cherot at herot.com> wrote:
> >
> > .        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.

  Depending upon the use-case, client certificates (much like secure
certificates for websites where the client certifies the server, these let
the server certify the client) could work.  We use this at work, and no
passwords are required.  Plus, they can be set to expire, and even revoked.

  Down side (as this technology currently exists)---the client certificates
have to be installed into the browser before using and that takes quite a
few steps currently.  This is fixable, both with a UI upgrade and give the
browser the ability to temporarily use a certificate from a removable device
(I carry around a USB memory stick with my client certificate just in case I
need to log into work; all I need is Internet access and a web browser, but
I need to install my certificate, use the browser, and make sure I delete
the certificate from the browser when I'm done).

> > .        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.

  A friend just recently purchased an iPod (an iPhone, but without the phone
part) and keeps it in a Zip-Loc bag.  It didn't seem to adversely affect his
usage of the device.

> 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.

  Hmm ... put a USB device on the iPad (yeah, right!) and the right
software, and all a hospital user would need to do is insert their identity
USB memory stick into the device and go.  I'm sure there are issues that
need to be resolved (keep it inserted while using, remove when done? 
Insert, wait, remove, then use?) but the tech looks like it's almost there.

  -spc (Who fondly remembers his Newton ... )

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