The David vs. Goliath debate in healthcare IT

It’s certainly an interesting time to be in healthcare IT. Aside from government regulations and presidential elections, the sheer volume of technology coming to market these days is overwhelming. Whether game-changing or head-scratching, the amount of HIT being developed seems to exponentially increase each year.

It’s been with amusement, then, that I have listened to recent news stories about two new, very different pieces of technology that could both drive innovation in healthcare.

First up is the iPad Mini. The 7.9-inch device is already finding favor with physicians, though it’s only been on the market for a few weeks. As Healthcare IT News noted in a recent article, an Epocrates survey prior to the Mini’s release found that one-third of surveyed physicians indicated they are planning to purchase one, finding favor with its lab-coat-pocket perfect size. Healthcare detractors point out that physicians are likely to find it lacking when it comes to data entry capabilities. (Here is a great list of healthcare benefits based on the Mini’s screen, A5 chip, front- and rear-facing cameras, weight, battery life and advanced wifi technology.)

It’s not hard to see that even if given short shrift in the clinical setting, the Mini will likely wind up as a lot of folks’ go-to, go-everywhere device. It might not be as easily transportable as the iPhone, but it seems more travel-friendly than the traditional iPad. And it will likely be a boon to the mobile health movement as far as adoption is concerned thanks to its lower price point.

Next up is the Titan – the latest in a long line of record-breaking super computers, and the exact opposite of the Mini. It is anything but mobile, taking up space equivalent to the square footage of a Kmart, even boasting miniature climate zones in different areas of its facility in Tennessee. But all that real estate enables it to run at a speed of more than 20 petaflops, which according to people much smarter than me, equals a quadrillion calculations per second.

Currently, Titan is open to public and private researchers in the areas of material science, climate change, biofuels, astrophysics, combustion and nuclear energy. Some have speculated that medical research won’t be far behind.

Why are super computers important? They will drive innovation in a number of industries, resulting in ground-breaking technologies that will ultimately trickle down to the consumer market, where the iPad Mini will likely reign for awhile.

Jennifer Dennard is social marketing director for Atlanta-based Billian's HealthDATA, Porter Research and Connect with her on Twitter @SmyrnaGirl.

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