Adobe gives RIM’s PlayBook An Airing For The Healthcare Market

Adobe shows Client Outlook’s eUnity medical imaging application in the first live demonstration of the PlayBook tablet

At the Adobe MAX conference in Los Angeles, RIM launched its Tablet OS SDK for Adobe Air. It also brought out its Playbook tablet for Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch to give the first live demonstration of the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook, showing how the tablet can fit into the medical field.

He demonstrated the eUnity medical imaging app, from healthcare application provider Client Outlook, showing how MRI images can be streamed wirelessly on the PlayBook, using finger gestures to zoom in and out of a medical scan.

Changes In The Air

As part of an early access arrangement, Client Outlook is one of several BlackBerry Alliance members developing applications using the SDK for Adobe Air. has a video of eUnity running on the PlayBook.

“The form factor of the RIM device is absolutely perfect for healthcare,” Steve Rankin, Client Outlook’s president and CEO, told eWEEK. The company plans to combine Flash with the company’s server technology to allow healthcare clients to render diagnostic images quickly on an ultraportable unit, Rankin added.

Whenever technology moves to a new platform, challenges result, he continued. “It’s a new type of device and, as such, the capabilities of each of these devices will have to be considered carefully for whatever clinical use they’re being touted for.”

The eUnity software, originally designed for Linux, Mac and Windows on the desktop, had to be tweaked for the mobile environment to conform to the resolution, contrast ratio and luminance of the device, Rankin explained.

To make the images available online, eUnity provides a single, or unified, interface to access medical images from a Flash-enabled Web browser. Separate systems will not be necessary for imaging, cardiology or scheduling. Images can be incorporated into EMRs (electronic medical records), he said.

Client Outlook has adapted the eUnity software specifically for the PlayBook rather than other tablets, such as the iPad, because of its integration with security procedures in the enterprise, claimed Rankin. “The power of the device and the clarity of the device are phenomenal,” he added. “We were very impressed with it.”

With the development of eUnity on the BlackBerry tablet, Client Outlook hopes to add to a hospital’s existing Picture Archive and Communication System (PACS) rather than replace it. Rankin noted: “We are here to help bring more value to their existing investment by allowing clinicians to access medical images regardless of their location.”

When RIM introduced the PlayBook at the BlackBerry Developer Conference in San Francisco, Mark Willnerd, president and CEO of healthcare applications developer TouMetis, gave a first glimpse at the PlayBook’s potential in healthcare. He showed how orthopedic surgeons could use a BlackBerry PlayBook or smartphone to collaborate on designs for knee replacements.