Several mobile computing devices have appeared on the landscape, offering physicians increased facility while on the go. The devices are steadily growing in popularity in many industries, but especially in health care. We’ve had the opportunity to review three tablet/notebook combinations and hear from physicians who actually use them in their day-to-day work environments:
Physicians take advantage of the new Apple iPad, leveraging its efficiency, mobility and screen size. The device enables doctors to view Electronic Medical Records (EMRs), sign off on labs and prescriptions, and apply software once available only on the iPhone and iPod Touch. And the medical scenarios for iPad are expanding. For example, physicians can share the iPad’s 9.7-inch touch screen with patients as they review information about diagnoses and treatments important to the individual’s care.
The iPad has applications in medical education, as well. Charese Pelham, MD, an anesthesiologist in Moultrie, Ga., has at least two medical students assigned to her on a daily basis at the Spartanburg Regional Medical Center, a teaching hospital and trauma center. When a student who has not seen a regional anesthesia administered is preparing to join Pelham in the procedure, that student logs onto the iPad to view a video demonstration for additional training.
Pelham also teaches on the iPad using popular apps from the iPhone and iPod Touch that include the ACLS (Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support) Advisor and ACLS Simulator. The Advisor outputs the precise action that the doctor should take for a given set of symptoms. The Simulator enables doctors to simulate a medical emergency code procedure. With the larger screen, more students can watch a simulation at once from a single device.
Steve Updegraff, MD, in St. Petersburg, Fla., specializes in LASIK and cataract surgery. “We want to keep the patient experience on the cutting edge and remove bulky portable DVD players,” says Updegraff on his use of the iPad. Rather than handing patients the heavier portable DVD players, Updegraff hands patients the iPad for a close-up and more highly detailed viewing of short educational videos about the powerful technology involved in his procedures.
Updegraff’s patients also use the iPad to surf the Internet while they are waiting. The iPad offers a touch screen keyboard, available within the display, as well as a keyboard docking station.