iPad’s release in 2010 opened new opportunities for the healthcare industry. Health information technology was challenging to bring into patient interactions because of the hassle of carrying laptops around or accessing computers on wheels.
The iPad introduced a more convenient way of integrating technology into healthcare. Physicians could easily carry the iPad around to access patient records and lab results, prescribe medications and refer to drug interaction programs, and even help patients understand medical treatments and procedures.
Physicians that use iPads and other tablet devices around hospitals and clinics were particularly excited about the new iPad Mini because the smaller size and lighter weight allows it to comfortably fit into the pocket of a physician’s lab coat.
Here are 5 ways the iPad and iPad Mini have changed and will continue to change how technology is incorporated into healthcare:
- The iPad replaces paper files and forms: With iPads, patient data is entered into their electronic medical file during hospital rounds instead of hours later. Therefore, physicians can see up-to-date patient data when treating patients. All patient records can also be easily accessed from the iPad, providing a complete view of the patient’s health.iPads or other tables could also replace paper forms that patients fill out in waiting rooms. The questionnaires will be automatically entered and digitally saved to a patient’s file, reducing the hassle of having to manually type the fields in.
- Accessibility of medical information: The accessibility of medical information from iPads has increased with the number of physicians and medical students using these devices. Now, many medical journals have released iPad apps that allow the articles to conveniently be view anywhere from the iPad. The medical journal apps have additional functions including the ability to view various multimedia, such as informational videos, and also digitally share articles. This huge web of shareable information from all over the world can aid discoveries and advancements in health.
- Patient engagement: Physicians can use iPads to actively engage patients in their treatments. Patients can be shown x-rays and medical images from the iPad that will allow them to better understand their conditions. Also, hospital discharge forms filled out on the iPad instead of paper, allows patients to give real-time reviews and feedback on quality of care.Some hospitals have released iPad and iPhone apps that allow patients to view current hospital wait times, schedule appointments with physicians, and access a patient health record that is a secure location for their personal health information.
- Assistance in operating rooms: Surgeons and operating teams look through a lot of data before operating on a patient. However, they also need to review images during the surgery itself and the iPad is a great tool for this. Relevant medical images can be saved to the iPad and easily reviewed during the surgery. The iPad also has other uses in surgery. It can be used to monitor vitals and even used for video conference calls, easily connecting medical professionals around the world.
- Patient therapy: As with patient engagement, the iPad can also give patients more control over their recovery and therapy. This video shows one instance where a patient uses an iPad app to remind him and help him keep track of his recovery schedule. iPad apps, such as this one, can also assist patients with speech therapy sessions.
Although there are some great advantages the iPad can have in the healthcare industry, it does bring challenges. Software compatibility with current hospital software and getting quick technical support may decrease efficiency. The durability of the iPad and keeping it properly sanitized are also some concerns. Security is probably the biggest obstacle because physicians tend to use personal iPads at work to access patient records. This increases the risk of a patient record breach, especially if the device is ever lost or stolen. However, technology such as the iPad and medical and health apps continue to revolutionize the healthcare industry for the better.