Everyone’s heard one of the most recognizable Apple catch phrases: there’s an app for that. With the dawning of the iPad, this is especially true now for the realm of medicine. Having portable, lightweight access to wifi connection allows the iPad to function as a fantastic reference tool for medical professionals. We’re going to list off the most interesting, useful ways doctors and nurses are using iPads in a hospital setting.
Doctors typically have to cart around patients’ charts in order to be prepared for each new person they’ll be assessing. Also, every time they need to reference some sort of scan or test results, they have to visit the nursing station and then travel back to the patient’s room.
The iPad, however, makes this whole process a breeze. In fact, it cuts away a lot of the “process” to create a way doctors can have this information at all times without needing to deviate from their rounds or worry about having all the information they need when visiting a new patient. It also allows them to record patient information as the patients speak or as the doctors observe.
Doctors and nurses alike are using iPads to view tests like X-rays, MRIs, and EKGs whenever they need them. They’re also storing password-protected medical records for easy access and reference. When they carry around an iPad, they’re essentially carting hundreds of records, files, and test results without needing to track them down or take time out of their day to retrieve them.
But the iPad offers more than efficiency — it’s also a tool for easy knowledge reference and for training purposes. Doctors are using apps that offer reference materials like medical calculators to assist them on a day-to-day basis. In operating rooms, surgeons can open apps to review the anatomy they’ll be working with or show residents in training what they’re going to be dealing with. Having crisp, clear images, text, and videos right in the operating room makes for an impressive reference and training tool.
One example of an app that many Canadian doctors use for reference purposes is Rx Vigilance ($199.99), which provides information on more than 1,200 drugs on reactions, dosages, precautions, interactions, and more. For nurses, there’s an app called NurseTabs ($9.99) that includes information about more than 340 diseases and disorders categorized by the body system it affects. There are plenty of apps to choose from, and there’s an entire category in the Apple App Store dedicated to medical apps.
iPads allow doctors to spend much less time filling out paperwork and gathering the files and materials they need to address each patient. This freed-up time allows them to stay at the patients’ bedsides for much longer and thus improves doctor-to-patient relationships.
On top of the iPad holding all of the patient’s medical records (from the earliest record to information about their hospital stay as recent as that very morning), it also allows doctors to download clear, descriptive medical applications that can be used to explain to patients what’s going on in their bodies.
For example, the Go Anatomy-Head, neck and brain app ($2.99) features more than 100 radiology images of the head and neck with corresponding terms labeled on the pictures. Doctors can use anatomy apps like this as a visual reference when describing a condition or possible procedure to someone who may not understand the technical jargon.
Aside from enhancing the communication and connection between patients and doctors, some doctors and nurses are experimenting with how the iPad can actually help minimize pain. An initiative at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital is exploring how the iPad can be used to reduce anxiety in children who are about to undergo a surgery or procedure.
If the child is entertained, distracted, and thus calmer than he or she originally was, then the procedure can be finished more quickly and efficiently. Nurses have noticed that because the iPad has several means of providing entertainment and is also extremely portable, it’s a fantastic tool for helping kids cope during medical procedures.
The iPad is extremely lightweight and portable, which allows for easy transport for doctors and nurses in hospitals. This allows them to take advantage of the numerous iPad apps that make valuable references and allow storage of patients’ medical information. More innovative methods for using iPads for medical uses are in the works, too.
For example, Texas Health is working on several apps, including one patients can perform motor skills on that a neurosurgeon can then evaluate and use to diagnose a disorder earlier than what would have been possible. As medical professionals figure out new ways to use iPad apps to their advantage, new developments will be in the works to make the medical profession more efficient and effective.