iPads Provide More Than Clipboards for Better Patient Care

ipad stethoscope

By Debi Besmer, Managing Partner, Archelon Enclosures

According to a Manhattan Research survey, Apple™ iPad® use among doctors rose from 30 percent in 2010, to 62 percent in 2011, to 72 percent in 2012. The research showed that use will continue to rise as opportunities in hospitals increase, because it provides healthcare facilities with a consistent and reliable connection to drug and medicine information, patient databases, and electronic medical records (EMR). Not to mention, use of the latest technology is not only a benefit, but a requirement. Come 2015 healthcare providers must demonstrate meaningful use of EMR technology every year to receive incentive payments, as per the incentives enforced by the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Criticism
The most common criticism of using iPads® for healthcare applications is that neither the device nor the information on it is secure. However, that criticism is easy to combat. These critics may have overlooked secure enclosures that allow mounting and provide mobile protection. Mounting enclosures enable facilities to secure their devices on walls, kiosks, desks, and moving carts. Mobile enclosures keep devices secure as they are carried from room to room with a hand grip. 

To secure their information, the iPad® provides 128 and even 256-bit encryption of data on storage and transmission, allowing facilities to keep in compliance with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). They can do so by minimizing data leak and security violations from the manual handling of un-encrypted paper forms.

Applications
Sure, these devices make data entry an easier task for doctors, but they are capable of so much more than that. Let’s touch on these functionalities by exploring how the healthcare industry is leveraging the iPad®:

The pharmaceutical industry uses iPad®-friendly apps and mobile sites to offer important patient information to doctors and nurses, as well as patients and their families. With the ability to access this information, doctors and pharmacists are less likely to prescribe medicine to patients that may cause them harm. Quick and easy access to this information can reduce misdiagnoses, resulting in the saving of patients’ lives.

Genentech is an example of a company in the bio-tech industry that has leveraged this technology, as it standardized and issued more than 7,000 iPads® to its employees. It uses them to collect the field information and patient data for clinical trials. The technology gives the company functionalities it did not have with traditional methods, such as audio and video recording, high resolution images, and a centralized repository.

Hospitals are using iPad® technology to monitor patients, allow patient check-in, update inventory, manage tasks, and notify and communicate with patients and their families. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center created custom HealthTrak app to allow patients to access their results from home, as well as schedule appointments. Stanford Medical Center Hospital, for example, issued iPads® to their doctors, paramedics, pharmacists, and administrative staff. They use them to schedule patients, issue and authorize prescriptions, record and transmit patient data, and video conferencing.

Realizing Benefits
Now that we’ve gotten a glimpse of how today’s healthcare facilities are using this technology, let’s talk benefits. We are all a little wary of new business practices until we know that they will boost our bottom line, but this one adds up:

1. Mobility – Facilities can save space and money by purchasing iPads® and tablets versus bulkier models that give them very limited mobility. Unlike the common “computers on wheels,” they don’t need to be transported or stored on a large cart. Hand grips allow healthcare workers to carry their devices from room to room as needed. Kiosk stands and mounts allow them to securely stabilize the devices in one place. Tablet enclosures allow you to maintain mobility while protecting your investment.

2. EMR Efficiency – The devices allow for easier access to electronic medical records and patient databases. Using a kiosk, hand grip, or table mount, the provider and patient can view the same data at the same time. This will help in establishing trust between healthcare employees and patients, who will no longer feel like they are in the dark about their diagnoses. Doctors can explain diagnoses using graphs or photos, rather than reading them from a computer screen with their backs turned to the patient.

3. Accuracy – Because of the ability to share information with patients in a more efficient manner, using iPads® helps healthcare facilities to increase accuracy, as patients would be able to verify their information or add to it as it changes. The technology also makes it easier for patients to complete paperwork that would otherwise be extremely time-consuming.

To not only set themselves apart from other providers, but also comply with technology requirements, healthcare facilities should not ignore this technology. The iPad® provides healthcare facilities with access to information and software that can revolutionize the way they provide for their patients, bringing functionality to the industry that simply cannot be achieved with a clipboard.

Debi photo

Debi knows a great idea when she sees one and the opportunity of Archelon Enclosures immediately sparked her interest. Besmer’s background is in the hospitality industry and her philosophical belief that the “customer rocks” was harmonious with Archelon Enclosures’ core values.  She’s a high-energy motivator, a change agent, and overall strategic thinker.  Her instinctive marketing talents, combined with her ability to garner buy-in from stake holders and infectious optimism, inspires top performance.  Her favorite things in life begin with the letter “H”: Humor, Hardware (as in Archelon), Home-cooked meals, Health, Heaven, and Harleys!

 

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