When one thinks of receiving medical attention, they don’t think of iPads. The saying “technology is the wave of the future” is true, though, and mobile technology is beginning to work into how doctors diagnose illnesses and talk to their patients.
To look at how mobile technology can be integrated into modern-day medicine, St. Mary’s Health Care System purchased iPads and loaned them to third-year medical clerkship students from the Georgia Health Sciences University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership (GHSU/UGA) campus and are collaborating with the University of Georgia’s College of Education on a yearlong study to see how iPads can be used in medical settings on a daily basis.
The research study began in July and will conclude on June 30, 2013. Over the last three months, the study included eight faculty physician preceptors at St. Mary’s and 36 third-year medical students from GHSU/UGA.
Michelle Nuss is the campus associate dean for graduate medical education at GHSU/UGA and is the principal investigator on a team created to study how faculty and students use the iPads.
The team presented its preliminary findings on Nov. 6 based of data collected since the study began. Initial research results showed that the majority of iPad users — both physicians and students — have embraced the use of iPads, and that patients have liked being able to see their own X-rays and lab results at their bedside.
Faculty reported using the iPads to teach while making rounds with medical students to see patients at St. Mary’s. Students reported using the iPads to gather data from EMR while on rounds, to make daily notes to prepare for the day, to study and for patient education, such as bringing up photos and diagrams on the iPad to show patients how an upcoming surgical procedure would be performed.
There are 10,000 medical apps available, a lot of them free, that medical staff can use to help them provide better health care to patients and to increase patients’ understanding about their health.
“You can talk to your patient and educate them,” Nuss said of patient education via the iPad. “The more the patient understands their disease, the more they’re going to be invested in getting better because they understand why it’s happening to them.”
Hospitals across the country have embraced iPads to help create a more efficient workflow for practitioners, and health care organizations now are beginning to integrate EMR with mobile devices so doctors can pull up e-scripts, lab and X-ray results at the patient’s bedside instead of collecting them from physical departments.
The other major part of the study is how the technology of the iPad helps medical professionals deliver a higher quality of care. An example is someone comes to the hospital and doctors find something in his or her bloodstream during tests. To know the best way to treat it, a doctor can look up the latest treatment options available through a medical resource, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or another evidence-based site, and determine the proper approach to treat the patient while standing bedside.
Via PEAS Healthcare