No iPads for you, SA Health CEO tells staff

SA Health is issuing a moratorium on the purchase of iPads for an initial period of two months

The chief executive of South Australia's health department issued a sternly worded letter to all staff in late May warning them off corporate purchases of Apple's flagship iPad device until the department's IT team could properly assess the device.

The letter -- under the name of SA Health CEO Tony Sherbon -- states that SA Health is issuing a moratorium on the purchase of iPads for an initial period of two months.

Sherbon told staff that while the potential use of the iPad within SA Health might be significant, the department needed to fully assess the device before it was implemented -- with concerns around the security of patient information being one potential issue.

A spokesperson for SA Health confirmed the letter, and said that "as with all new technology", the department needed to assess the iPad and make sure it was compatible with its other IT systems. "Once the assessment's complete, we can look to release the technology carefully into the system," they said.

SA Health's review of the iPad has not yet been completed. But Sherbon did note in his letter that exemptions were available to the iPad moratorium if a legitimate business driver existed.

The spokesperson said no one specific event had sparked Sherbon's warning, but they noted that obviously the department wouldn't issue a department-wide email if there wasn't interest in the platform.

The news comes as IT managers and chief information officers at many large Australian organisations have demonstrated a great deal of interest in corporate adoption of the iPad -- especially in certain specialised sectors such as health and education.

In mid-June a quick straw poll of half a dozen Australian chief information officers who use the Twitter social networking platform showed that most had bought an iPad for personal use, or were planning to.

And Victorian Premier John Brumby in late May announced his state would buy more than 500 of the Apple tablets, to be distributed to eight Victorian schools in a trial of the technology.

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Renai LeMay

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