Mac setup for a doctor

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Jsturdivant8, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. Jsturdivant8 macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2010
    Looking for advice regarding a Mac setup for my work. In an effort to narrow down on the best setup I've included below the attributes I want in the system and some of the tasks I'll need it to perform. Any advice is appreciated.

    1. The system needs to be a mobile/desktop hybrid. I start my day at a desk where I review charts to observe the events from the night before, lab results, interoffice communications, etc. Following completion of these activities, I need to be able to take my system with me in order to round throughout the hospital where I will be manipulating charts, placing orders, and referring to lab results.

    2. I need multiple displays. I often work with several programs at once that I need to see the entirety of such as x-rays or cat scan images, electronic patient records, literature searches, etc. Flipping back and forth through tabs is time consuming and difficult given my work flow.

    3. I need a physical keyboard. I work for the hospital IT department as a consultant and have beta tested the iPad for rounding work and unfortunately while it is a great output device when it comes to hardcore data input it falters and placing a keyboard case on an iPad just makes it an underpowered Air.

    4. I need to be able to sync data automatically between mobile and desktop workspaces upon my return from rounding. I do not want to have to physically move documents, bookmarks for articles, etc. back and forth between devices as this takes of time and for me time is a precious commodity.

    5. I would like the desktop setup to still function without the mobile component and vice versa. Thus if for some reason I slip into the office without overnight or unexpectedly I can still perform some operations without the mobile component. i.e.. simple docking station for a laptop is out.

    6. Absolute speed or computing power is not necessary. As noted the majority of the work will be in text and document editing/review. I won't be editing graphics, movies, or large files as all files are stored on the hospital server.

    Here's my thoughts so far on the system, but I'm not sure how to make it work together.

    1. A pair of 27" displays and a mac mini vs. 27" iMac and 27" display
    2. 13" macbook air
    3. Some sort of docking station
    4. Magic mouse and wired keyboard
  2. eric/ Guest


    Sep 19, 2011
    Ohio, United States
    Looks like MacBook air and displays will be your best bet. I have a 13 inch MBA and really like it, along with the portability. I routinely get 6-7 hours of battery life depending on brightness and use. Get that, along with a underbolt display and you'll be happy.
  3. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    The Air can support the built in screen and one thunderbolt display. I don't know if it can support two by shutting off the laptop display.

    The mini has a single TB port and an hdmi if I recall correctly. I know at least the discrete gpu mini has that. I'm not sure if it can support two TB displays.

    While I don't particularly care for the imac, it might not be a bad option here if the drive, ram, or display bandwidth of the Air is inadequate. Otherwise it's a pretty cool machine. I'm not entirely sure how battery life compares to a macbook pro, but that might be a factor. It's not exactly generous with port allocation. If you're using a thunderbolt display, that can act as a hub when it's attached.
  4. Ricky Smith macrumors regular

    Jan 28, 2006
    Boston, MA
    All of those suggestions miss his requirement of being able to use the setup minus the mobile part. IE he forgets the laptop or comes in quick.
  5. eric/ Guest


    Sep 19, 2011
    Ohio, United States
    Don't forget the laptop fixes that.
  6. genejockey macrumors newbie

    Oct 16, 2009
    Does your hospital maintain a HIPPA-compliant secure server where you can store your files for remote access a la Dropbox? If so you could go with the iMac + 27 inch monitor solution at your desk and use the Air to access your files while rounding. That way you could work on your files in your office regardless of whether or not you have your laptop with you, and you won't have to worry about version control and syncing when access your files via your laptop.
  7. hypermog, Mar 26, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012

    hypermog macrumors regular

    Nov 17, 2009
  8. sbb155 macrumors 6502

    Jan 15, 2005
    Most CDs of outside imaging will not run on the mac... most EHRs are on the PC as well for future integration. Just fyi.
  9. tzd macrumors newbie

    May 8, 2011
    Look into having two Macs of your choice and syncing your work folders between them with SyncMate
  10. Jsturdivant8 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2010
    Thanks for all the quick suggestions.

    I guess I should have been more specific. It's not actually about file syncing since the electronic medical record (EMR) system is all web based via hospital servers and I can use dropbox/iCloud for anything that is not patient information such as schedules and articles. What I really want is to be able to do is more of program syncing. I need to be able to just sit down and turn on the system, get my programs for the EMR running, and then undock and go round. Then after rounds I need to be able to come back and just plug back in and go back to work.

    I guess the real problem is comes in with the computing ability being intact without the mobile component: i.e. the system would work find with an MBA as the "brains," but is dead if the laptop is left at home or is otherwise unavailable.

    With the mac mini or iMac in the equation the system retains computing capabilities without the laptop, but at least to me it seems to create the problem as to which device is "driving" the system.

    I basically want the monitors/displays to be able to recognize when the MBA is present and default to displaying it's info with the mini vs. iMac held in reserve for when it's needed.
  11. hypermog macrumors regular

    Nov 17, 2009
    I think you need to specify which programs you are syncing in order to get more useful responses.
  12. mike693 macrumors member

    Jun 24, 2011
    1. The hardware options you are considering should satisfy this point (I assume the hospital has wi-fi for the laptop to access network resources, such as shared directories, applications, etc.)
    2. The hardware options you are considering should satisfy this point
    3. The hardware options you are considering should satisfy this point
    4. As time is your most precious commodity, then if possible, avoid a solution that involves syncing files. If your syncing solution fails for whatever reason, you will need to spend precious time to determine the problem, where the "last known good" version of your file is, and then "re-sync"; addressing these problems can be very simple, but not without cost of your time. Consider working with documents on the a shared directory on the hospital server, and remember to close them when switching from desktop to laptop and vice-versa. If you are reviewing or updating patient encounter data in a client/server app, then you may need to close out the current record before switching. In case of the unexpected, working off the server directly should "fail more gracefully" than a sync solution.
    5. If you are not syncing, then you may not need any docking station for the laptop. Just use the desktop, when at the desk.
    6. The hardware options you are considering should satisfy this point

    Of course, if you need to take any SPI or PHI off-site, consult with your hospital network administration or information security office. I suspect the FileVault whole disk encryption feature of OS X should satisfy the encryption requirements.
  13. mike693 macrumors member

    Jun 24, 2011
    Sorry, I did not see your post from 8:55 when I posted previously. I had assumed you were looking for a file syncing solution.

    Syncing sessions across applications would almost certainly need to be a specific feature of those applications, which you can't "bolt on" using a third party solution. I suspect that is not going to be possible if these are desktop apps. If you have a "session-aware" server-based app, you may be able to just log in from the other machine and pick up where you left off.

    Plugging in the laptop to the Thunderbolt display should allow for immediate use of the big monitors, keyboard, and mouse. If you are the only user of this equipment, then just use the laptop both on the floor and back at the desk.

    Meanwhile, keep the apps running on the desktop and at-the-ready. If you are "dropping by" without the laptop, then there should be no "app sessions" to sync between the desktop and laptop anyway (if I understand the scenario correctly).
  14. offqueue macrumors newbie

    Mar 26, 2012
    I am the Mac guy for our hospital system and I'm wondering if you aren't trying to cover a "synching" issue that doesn't exist.

    If the EMR is all web-hosted, then you shouldn't have to synch anything between devices. When you're working on the mobile device, you're attached to the web and accessing/writing information to the EMR. When you're working on the desktop device, you're attached to the web and accessing/writing information to the EMR. Neither scenario is storing information on either device.

    Maybe there's subsequent systems involved that I'm missing, but from the EMR description that you provide, any mobile device paired with any desktop device with adequate monitor space for what you desire should work.
  15. nateo200 macrumors 68030


    Feb 4, 2009
    Northern District NY
    I was just going to mention this. It seams like the OP is all set in terms of "syncing" as EMR is web based which means anything that supports HTML can access it with proper credentials and misc. stuff is synced with dropbox.....
  16. offqueue macrumors newbie

    Mar 26, 2012
    One other thing that you'll want to test... Dropbox may be blocked on your corporate network. Because of HIPAA and ePHI, many of my clients choose to block Dropbox to prevent ePHI from being shared in a non-secure environment. Just some FYI. If you need a shared space, your network may be willing to setup a shared network space instead of using Dropbox (if they have it blocked).

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