Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Australia Handhelds Medicine Apple Politics Technology

Australian State Govt. To Fund iPads For Doctors 97

angry tapir writes "The current premier of the Australian state of Victoria, John Brumby, has promised every doctor in Victoria's public hospital system would be issued with an Apple iPad if his incumbent Labor Government was returned to power in the state's upcoming election."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Australian State Govt. To Fund iPads For Doctors

Comments Filter:
  • by Idimmu Xul ( 204345 ) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:51AM (#34194298) Homepage Journal

    That MB Games had released Operation [] for the iPad ...

  • This really shouldn't be a story, the likely case is the Labor government wont return to power at all.

    If they do it will be with the Greens holding a deciding vote in policy and given their position to reckless spending like this they'd harpoon the idea anyway. This would be news if in three months time doctors were actually being given iPads to do their work via.


      Looks like this has been floating around for a good while.

    • by strack ( 1051390 )
      reckless spending? youve been listening to Baillieu and Abbot a bit too much methinks. there like fucking parrots with that phrase. meanwhile the economys steaming along and the dollar is at parity with the us dollar.
      • Re:A non story (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cloricus ( 691063 ) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @08:16AM (#34194990)

        Like the quality of your post, the opposition in the state and federal parliaments is a waste of time. If Baillieu was any good he'd win this election hands down over the horrific failure by the Brumby government regarding the bush fires. Instead we get yet another Liberal scare campaign, when they could be getting down to real issues.

        My reference to reckless spending is regarding the Myki system which cost a billion dollars, and counting, to replace a system that wasn't broken. Worse still, the Metcard system it replaced is still required and the public transport network is still unreliable!

        If you consider a billion dollars in context: We could have just had free public transport for 1-3 years without a single ticket instead of this failure. That's based on back of a napkin maths but a billion dollars buys a lot of zone 1 dailies. And it's not the only waste I can point to.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by mark72005 ( 1233572 )
          I don't consider this reckless spending. the iPad is in use in many hospitals in the US by providers, not as a toy, but in real useful ways.

          In our case, because there is a Citrix plugin for the iPad, providers can log into our informatics system on an iPad via wireless and do basically anything they can do from the PC they normally use. Place orders, view results, read documentation, more or less anything.

          Because the iPhone uses the same plugin, they can use those in a pinch too, say from the golf course or
          • You're comparing the Victorian govt. with US providers.

            The cynicism stems from their past failure to deliver IT systems on budget and on time. Usually it goes to tender and ends up being monstrously more expensive and bloated than originally planned. As in the myki disaster referred to earlier.

        • My reference to reckless spending is regarding the Myki system which cost a billion dollars, and counting, to replace a system that wasn't broken.

          It was broken. Quite literally, in fact. One of the reasons why there are fewer Metcard issuing machines and validating machines than they were is that they've been scavenged for parts that you can't buy any more.

          Yes, Myki was badly managed. Yes we could have gone with another system like Oyster more cheaply. But you also have to weigh that against the fact that Victoria uses an outdated zone system, so whatever scheme you use would have to be localised. And no, you couldn't fix that because it wouldn'

  • by siddesu ( 698447 ) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @05:02AM (#34194336)

    his party was committed to giving doctors the tools they needed to provide the best care to Victorian patients.

    Having done a few projects with medical institutions of various sizes, my impression is that there are quite a lot of stringent and rather divergent requirements for "tools they need to provide the best care" depending on the specialty, in addition to a ton of general and institution-specific requirements regarding, between others, payments, data security and privacy.

    Giving everyone an iPad doesn't strike me like a policy implementation in response to a specific need, but rather as trying to win an influential group with shiny presents.

    Are the doctors going to bite on such a small bait?

    • Everything the candidates say at this point is pandering. Doctors represent a block of typically right wing (Liberal party) voters and donors. Appealing to doctors can potentially have a direct affect on Liberal votes.

      But I don't think it will make much of a difference. The campaign is on autopilot. Candidates are promising the exact opposite of their historical positions. In my experience the bureaucracy runs the state anyway so it doesn't really matter who wins.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gnasher719 ( 869701 )

      Giving everyone an iPad doesn't strike me like a policy implementation in response to a specific need, but rather as trying to win an influential group with shiny presents.

      Outside of Slashdot's event horizon, many companies have already issued large number of iPads to their employees for specific purposes, and very successfully so. Very often with purpose written applications that don't go through Apple's app store (shell out a little bit more than the usual $99 for an "enterprise" developer account and you can install iPhone and iPad apps from your own servers). I don't make lists of this stuff, just use Google, but I remember Daimler Benz issuing iPads to their sales people

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by oji-sama ( 1151023 )

        If not for the cool-factor, is there a reason for giving iPads to the doctors instead of some other pad?

        • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

          no. and where they need such data input, they already have pads.

          and most of these cases of shelling out large numbers of ipads to representatives comes out the fact that those decisions were sold to them by advertising agencies(which are pretty good at building special apps that serve no purpose, typical case would be issuing them for one trade show, using them as information displays there,instead of printing the text out in a form you could give the attendees to take home, and then just forgetting about t

        • by DrYak ( 748999 ) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @09:30AM (#34195400) Homepage

          If not for the cool-factor, is there a reason for giving iPads to the doctors instead of some other pad?

          As someone who has studied medicine, and worked a bit in the clinic (although now I mainly do research, I still have to work as a military doctor, thanks to Switzerland having such an antiquated concept as a "compulsory military service")
          let me say to you :

          We are completely dependant on electronic assisting devices. Long before Apple even started marketing mere music player (let alone PDA/smartphone capable devices) PDA such as Palms and Psions have been immensely popular among my peers.
          There's an overwhelming quantity of applications :
          - General PIM applications : Notes (so you can easily carry your personal schemas, recommendations, memory aids, etc.), calendar, address book
          - Lots of reference material (and it's much practical to carry around 1 single PDA, rather than the equivalent amount of books. Specially since some, like drugs compendiums aren't pocket-sized at all but look like dictionaries)
          - Assisting applications (formula calculators, patient tracking/note taking, etc.)
          - There are even advanced medical application running on iOS like radiology displaying apps (OsiriX). So you can directly show X-Rays on your device (bedside!) instead of having to log onto a nearby computer or even worse - rely only on expensive X-Ray films.
          And that's only the software and data which is useful to a single person alone, now factor in that if some platform is widespread, you can even start developing applications which are useful at the hospital level (dictation software inside the PDA which can then automatically send the dictated report over the network ; a network client could access the patient's file when you need to lookup results or history again bedside!).

          So yes, providing electronics to doctors *do* help them, and making a *single specific* platform available in all hospital help the hospital itself (the hospitals could start using an iPad-based dictation, use the iPad as device to display X-Ray pics).

          Only, I would prefer a more pocket-able form factor than a tablet. That's why I still used Palm PDAs until recently, and now switched to a smartphones (a PalmPre), although the tablet form factor would be more useful to display x-ray pics.
          Also, I would prefer a less vendor-controlled device. That's why my smartphone runs WebOS (Konami code for the win !)
          Last but not least, compared to other tablets, the iPad is just an oversize iPod Touch. What I mean is that it lacks some important elements like a USB or SDIO port to interface with chip-cards (for log-in/access control, as done on desktops).

        • It has an OS that is specifically written/modified to run on a touch based device, iOS have its entire UI running on the GPU while the CPU issues relatively small drawing calls. So far the other pads, PDAs and smartphones does not. Maybe Windows phone 7 OS is rewritten from scratch, but the older is not. I think they use a hardware accelerated layer on top of the old stuff so you get sweet animations in the initial use, but once you go browsing or managing files you use an old non accelerated portion of the

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by siddesu ( 698447 )

        many companies have already issued large number of iPads to their employees for specific purposes, and very successfully so

        Yes, this kind of underlines the seeming pointlessness of the discussed political initiative. iPads are promised without a specific purpose and application in mind.

  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @05:07AM (#34194358) Homepage Journal

    I'm a Victorian but I have only been skimming the news. Basically our politicians are saying whatever they think might help them get [re]elected even if it sounds totally stupid. For example the Liberal party is proposing to build train lines in metropolitan Melbourne. In my 45 years of living in this city the only thing the Liberals have done with trains is close them down (and then Labor reopen them), so a Liberal politician who says he is going to build a train line is clearly talking crap.

    The iPads will be forgotten on the Sunday morning after the Saturday election.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by _merlin ( 160982 )

      That isn't a fair comment. Many underutilised branch lines were closed under the "New Deal" but mainline services were made cheaper and more frequent. As a result, patronage actually increased by 20% after the changes. Victorian Labor has a history of doing nothing with rail anyway. They promised a train to Wantirna, scaled it back to a tram line, and then decided not to take in under Eastlink, so it terminates uselessly in Vermont South. They buried the report recommending electrification to Geelong.

      • by zsau ( 266209 )

        Indeed; despite the impression everyone has of the Labor and Liberal parties, it needs to remembered that a large part of Labor's base are the teachers and nurses unions, and these are people who want roads (for their jobs). The Liberals have neither ideological nor practical reason to oppose public transport, only to oppose publicly-owned public transport, but seeing as Melbourne's PT is already privatised under their model, the only risk from the Liberals is that once they leave it'll look the same as it

      • The Libs were in the news promising to look again at the Doncaster line and a refuse to believe they will build it. They will probably put another two lanes on the Eastern freeway and say its fixed. I am not claiming that Labor are any better BTW.

        The olderer I get the more cynical I get.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        patronage increased because population increased and we have a ridiculously centralized city with inadequate parking so driving in to work isn't a viable option to many commuters.

        Taking the best of a bunch of terrible options is hardly glowing praise for our public transport system

    • I'm a Victorian

      I, for one, welcome our time-travelling messenger from the late Nineteenth Century...oh, hold on.

  • You would hope he at least did a Google search for tablet pc before choosing iPads. It seams that been first to market is the key these days.
    • They are not actually going to buy anything. This is an election promise.

    • Why would they want a clunky tablet PC, exactly?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BasilBrush ( 643681 )

      Tablet PCs have been around for nearly 10 years. Apple wasn't the first to market with a pad/tablet. They were first to market with one that people actually wanted to buy.

      Why does it make sense for large organisations to buy iPads rather than another tablet? For the same reason it makes sense for them to buy Windows PCs as desktops. Because they are the market leader, which means most tablet software will be released for it, most tablet hardware add-ons will be compatible with it, and they can be sure that

  • by anti-NAT ( 709310 ) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @05:21AM (#34194426) Homepage
    They should specify standards that multiple competing products can comply with. How can anybody but Apple win this under a competitive tender?
    • You seem to be new to this game - how it really goes, if they have to go to an open tender is:

      They will specify standards that multiple competing products can't comply with. How can anybody but Apple win this under a competitive tender?

      • Not that new, but will repeat the (right) philosophy, so that newbies expect it like I both used to and still do.
        • Anyone in Government who puts something like this out to tender has already decided what they want to use so the requirements for the open tender can easily be written in such a way that their solution is the only one that "ticks all the boxes"

          Something like - the successful tender must be able to provide a handheld computing device with a touch screen that can sync applications with iTunes.

    • by sempir ( 1916194 )

      They should specify standards that multiple competing products can comply with. How can anybody but Apple win this under a competitive tender?

      My dear Friend ...please do not use the word "standards " when discussing politicians, it lowers the tone, and quality, of the conversation. :~)

    • by bonch ( 38532 )

      They should specify standards that multiple competing products can comply with.

      Why should they have to? The government buys specific vendors' products all the time, from Microsoft to Lockheed Martin.

  • by Phoe6 ( 705194 ) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @05:26AM (#34194444) Homepage Journal

    Reminds me of Kavka's toxin puzzle []. ...the Political Manifesto. Before an election, a political party will release a written document outlining their policies and plans should they win office. Many of these promises may be difficult or impossible to implement in practice. Having won, the party is not obligated to follow the manifesto even if they would have lost without it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by grimJester ( 890090 )
      The part you're quoting has an "Original research" label. Not that the analogy isn't realistic, but the Wikipedia text is probably some random dude's ramblings. There's no way to know if they would have lost without it and (in the matrix below) implementing a policy without promising to do so first is considered impossible.
    • In Oz we call an unimplemented election promise a "non-core promise", John Howard coined the term. I live in Victoria and personally I really don't give a flying fuck if they do or don't spend a paltry $12M on ipads, I'm just gratefull we have bipartisan support for universal health care.
      • In Oz we call an unimplemented election promise a "non-core promise", John Howard coined the term.

        Outside of politicis we call it a "lie".

  • by shikaisi ( 1816846 ) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @05:47AM (#34194528)
    Winning elections... ? There's an app for that.
  • Aborigens are bouth again with shiny objects...

    The sad thing is that is the way it works... I work at an hospital and what the doctors understand more is how cool is the new gadget/pc (and how nobody that is not a doctor cannot have a cooler gadget, no matter its function). The fact that there must be an IS behind in order to these gadgets to be useful is secondary, at best.


  • I'm curious as to the reason why "so they have easy access to time-critical clinical information at a patient’s bedside" REQUIRES an iPad, and not anything else.

  •'s strapped for cash. I happen to know a number of doctors, and yes, plenty of them have iPads.

    I suggest that if an iPad is indeed critical business tool for a Doctor, he might be able to spring for the six hundred bucks without too much trouble.

    He doesn't need John Brumby to buy it for him (or her). In contrast, there are plenty of school kids who could use that sort of investment in technology. Perhaps some of the billions of dollars that were wasted on the latest Public transport fiasco [] could

    • Oh, I don't think it's that they're subsidizing doctors, who can, without some sort of strange circumstances, afford to purchase an iPad. The upper-middle class does not need any subsidies, thank you very much. They're subsidizing Steve Jobs, who, being one of the richest people in the world, is in desperate need of government support.

  • sure. they're the last people who could afford it. riiiighhttt......
  • I was going to vote for Labour until I read this, I don't want any part in filling Apple's coffers any further.

  • a apple a day. im gonna go sit in the corner now.
  • Dear John Brumby, please see []
  • I love tech, but this is batshit crazy in my opinion. Fix the underlying issues w/health. iPads won't.
  • I was just reading an article in the Philadelphia Business Journal this morning about the switch to electronic medical records, and it said one thing they've found from experience is that a desktop computer with a mouse is much more convenient for the doctor than mobile/touch devices. I would provide a link but it is subscriber-only, so the PBJ losses an opportunity for some traffic.

  • If you thought it was hard to read a doctor's handwriting when they used a pen, just wait until you see what it looks like when they fingerpaint on their capacitive iPad screen.

    More seriously, what the hell problem is this politician even trying to address by handing out iPads? If doctors want access to a patients medical info, it's likely there is clipboard on the bed which has it and failing that a duty station on the ward where it could be accessed. Expecting doctors to haul around a fragile computer (

  • As if doctors couldn't afford their own iPad? They aren't that useful in a hospital setting anyways. I work in an IT department for a hospital (~6000 total employees) and while we find that several top executives are trying to push for being able to do more hospital stuff on their iPad, we were never able to justify, on a cost-to-benefit analysis, buying more than 2 iPads, and that was so our current web developers could run compatibility tests (not actually building anything for it, just tweaking existing
  • The iPad is really the best platform for doctors on rounds.

    It is small, light weight, can display hi-res images therefor great for viewing radiology images and can have lots and lots of other things built right in.

    While I really like the iPad Apples needs to change one thing. They need to get rid of that fragile connector. It is way to thin for the amount of average that can be applied by the cable. I promise a Doctor will break the damn thing in a heartbeat.

    Apple needs to make the connections inductive

Vitamin C deficiency is apauling.