Netbooks in HealthCare……

You may have heard about NetBook computers. Only this morning they were featured on NPR. They are essentially very small laptops that run Linux or Windows operating systems and are very inexpensive, with prices ranging from $300 to $600.  Early on, they were considered second computers, best for e-mail and Web surfing—thus the netbook moniker. The market is very competitive right now and prices have plumeted. We are comnsidering the use of these devices in accessing our EHR. 

It would seem that they would appeal to a wide audience, from businesspeople who travel frequently, to kids and home users looking for a small laptop to carry from room to room, to book-laden students who spend long hours on campus.  Are you using a Netbook in your healthcare environment?  Please let me know. Does it function adequately in the hosptital or in your office? 

It’s easy enough to tell a netbook from other laptops, but the differences between one netbook and the next are getting fewer and fewer. They generally have 8-to-10-inch widescreens and lack built-in optical drives. They do not have full-size keyboards—they usually range from 89 percent to 93 percent of full size—so expect a more cramped typing experience than with a mainstream laptop. You will find an abundance of USB ports, a webcam, a card reader, and built-in Wi-Fi. Some even have bonus features like ExpressCard slots, Bluetooth, and options for cellular modems. Most every netbook has adopted the Intel Atom platform, made up of the Atom processor, integrated graphics, and 512MB to 1GB of RAM.

They’re not just limited to Web surfing, compiling spreadsheets, or word processing. You can  dump your photos from a digital camera and edit them using a program like Adobe Photoshop Elements 7. With some patience, you can transcode video to another format using Windows Media Encoder 9 or edit video footage using Adobe Premiere Elements 7, or run your entire music library with iTunes. A netbook can play video from sites like YouTube or a movie from an external USB drive, unmarred by distortions and lag. Businesses are considering these pint-size laptops because you can run various e-mail clients on them, put them on a network, install a VPN client, and secure them with antivirus and antispyware suites.

Here is a link to the NPR article – http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104527832 

And a recent article in the New York Times - http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/02/technology/02netbooks.html?_r=1
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