The first question I ask is about which software you will be using. For most physicians, the answer is that it will be used just for their EMR software. If the tablet pc will be used for other functions like email, Microsoft Office or general use then additional considerations come into play. Right now, let's just talk about using the tablet with an EMR.
If your EMR software runs wirelessly from a local server or is web-based then it won't require a lot of horsepower to run the application. Don't be obsessed with Gigahertz or hard disk size like you would be with a machine you used for general purposes. Instead, choose it by the requirements given by your software provider and how you need to interact with it. What I mean by "interact with" is this - if your software is mostly point and click with drop down menus and check boxes but little narrative, a slate tablet PC is your best choice for comfort due to thinness and light weight. If your software requires a lot of power and there is a significant amount of typing required then a convertible tablet PC is probably right for you.
OK, let's talk first about slate tablet PCs.
If you are choosing a slate, there are several choices on the market. Without talking about specific brands, your first choice is a 10.4" or 12.1" display. A tablet pc with the smaller display is going to be lighter and easier to carry but if your EMR software doesn't look good on a screen that size then you need to choose a larger size. The majority of our customers choose a tablet with a 12" display for one main reason - it is larger and easier to read. If you could get through medical school in 4 years and be a 23 year old doctor then small print wouldn't matter, but it is likely that you will be more comfortable with a larger display.
Now let's talk about convertible tablets.
While you can can buy a convertible with a larger display than 12" I would discourage it because the overall weight will make it uncomfortable to carry. Remember that you can't switch hands when writing so you will be carrying the tablet in the same arm all day. This factor comes into play when deciding whether to get a convertible with a built-in DVD. Unless you have the need to look at DVDs for scans or some other reason, don't buy a unit with one built-in because it adds unnecessary weight and bulk.
Here are some other random considerations for purchasing a tablet pc:
1. Choose the largest capacity battery available.
2. Capacitive or multitouch isn't important with any EMR software I'm aware of. Choose it for your home computer, not for your work tablet.
3. A standard display is fine and the cost of an outdoor display isn't necessary.
4. Don't get a case - it just gets in the way.
There are more choices but this will get you through the basics. If you want to talk about your specific situation or get my recommendations for specific brands and models, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215-441-5580 x101.