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Apple vs Android poll results: Hospitals divided on which innovation strategy is best

For our Focus on Innovation in September we tapped into a matter of some debate among health IT developers: Whether to pursue an open source style when building new software, à la Android, take Apple’s more proprietary tack – or pick the best of both?

We asked readers which innovation strategy they embrace and, it turns out, there’s an even split on favoring an Android-style approach and a combination of both at 39.2 percent each. Of the 102 anonymous respondents, 17.6 percent opted for Apple's "walled garden" tactic, on the grounds that they themselves prefer to be proprietary.

Our poll, not surprisingly, drew praise and criticisms of each approach.

“Innovation in Android?” a reader asked. “All I see is a redesigned settings menu every year. Samsung has been doing the real innovation on the Android front, and Google has just been reaping the benefit (and your data for God knows what!).”

From the Android camp, the fact that Apple has more customization is outweighed by Android phones all looking unique and the OS being open source, such that anyone can use it or develop apps that run on top of it.

“Apple phones are too expensive for hospitals,” one voter commented. “iOS is a closed system.”

A few sentiments were interesting, among those who take the best bits of both the Android and Apple approaches.

First was the idea that the diversity of the healthcare landscape requires a similarly diverse strategic response – and that a “a cross-platform approach will serve the broad market regardless of social-economic and demographic differences.”

Second, one reader noted the importance of keeping open minds to innovation – from wherever it might come.

Others reasoned that “both have exponential benefits,” and “we need to be able to accommodate both depending on the ask and the data that will be gathered.”

Of course, some respondents said their innovation strategies don't emulate either Apple or Android: 3.9 percent said both approaches are too constricting. 

Twitter: @SullyHIT
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