iPad Pro vs Surface Pro 4 for the Medical Practice

Yesterday, Apple introduced its all-new 9.7 inch iPad Pro, and once again we’re receiving questions related to whether the iPad Pro is a good investment for the medial practice. The announcement has also led to an increase in inquiries related to the Surface Pro 4.


In a previous article I discussed a few things you need to know before investing in an iPad Pro for your medical practice. If you are seriously considering the iPad Pro, please review that article. The quick answer to the question posed above, however, is yes, the iPad Pro may be a suitable device for your medical practice (but I wouldn’t expect it to replace your PC.) As with any hardware, its suitability is dependent upon how you plan to use it. The Surface Pro 4, by comparison, is a completely different tablet. Here are 3 important differences between the iPad Pro 4 vs Surface Pro:


  1. The Surface Pro Seamlessly Integrates Into Your Windows Network


Because the Surface Pro is a Windows device, it can be easily joined to your practice’s computer network. The iPad Pro, however, cannot natively integrate into a Windows Network Domain.


The primary consideration here is security and access to information. Security policies such who has access to what folders and drives across your network cannot be appropriately enforced on devices that are not joined to your network domain. Password complexity and password expiration policies cannot be enforced on such devices either.   There may be third party tools that can help bridge these deficiencies, but finding, managing, and purchasing them will add to the complexity associated to the management of the device while also increasing its total cost of ownership.


If your goal is to join your device to your practice’s network and access and access files containing personal health information that is stored there, the Surface Pro is the better device for you.


  1. Access to Applications


If you’ve ever used an Apple device, you know that not all software programs are compatible with Apple products. The iPad Pro uses the iOS operating system. The only applications available for the device are those founds in the App Store.  Consider the programs you use on a daily basis. Before replacing your PC with the iPad Pro, make sure full versions of all these software packages will be fully functional and supported on Apple’s iOS.


If you are considering the Surface Pro as a replacement device to a laptop, desktop or tablet you already own, this will not be a consideration you will have to make. If the software runs on Windows, it will work on your Surface Pro.


  1. Device Integration


As discussed in our last article, it is important to consider what, if any, peripheral devices you must connect to from your primary computing device before making a decision on a replacement device. Do you need access to a peripheral device that connects via USB? There’s no USB port on an iPad Pro. iPad Pro users will find themselves limited in terms of external hardware that can integrate into their device. The Surface Pro has a built in USB 3.0 port. An HDMI adapter (sold separately) is available to connect the device to an external monitor. Before making a purchase, consider how adopting a new device will impact your ability to connect to scanners, EEG/EKG spirometers, bar code scanners, signature pads, etc.


The iPad Pro and Surface Pro 4 are both impressive tools. To date we have seen several medical providers adopt the Surface Pro and report positive feedback related to the use of this device. Will it be a good device for your medical practice?  Just as we said about the iPad Pro….It’ll depend on how you plan to use it.

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