Guest Post: iPad and Tablets as Standard Issue Hospital Equipment

Computers are an undeniable fact of modern medicine. Locked behind the plastic display is a plethora of information vital to running a successful medical practice, hospital or clinic. Fortunately, with the introduction of tablet computers (including the popular iPad), the practice of medicine might never be the same again. In fact, whereas it’s difficult to think of a doctor without his or her stethoscope, now they are just as likely to walk into an examination room carrying one of several different models of pad computers. The advantages of using personal computers have been apparent for several years, but thanks to this most recent development in convenience and portability, the immediate benefits are now at the fingertips of any medical professional.

With a tablet, doctors and other medical professionals can be instantly apprised of a patient’s information and know a person’s medical history, health problems and any treatments they are on without a moment’s notice. Not only that, but with a tablet there’s no shuffling of paper and nothing is lost or misplaced in a file. Further, once a physician is in the room with a patient, taking notes and making records of treatments and plans is a snap; eliminating the need to keep track of separate papers as well as problems with the old nemesis of those in medical transcription—indecipherable handwriting.

While medical professionals have long had access to PDAs and other similar devices their proprietary software did not offer nearly the same level of versatility or compatibility as is currently extant in a tablet. From an IT perspective doctors had few utilities with which to work, limited security features and a near complete lack of adaptive capability. In short, these devices represented little more than glorified day planners, while tablets are literally hand-held computers of nearly limitless potential. For instance, IT professionals using tablets are afforded the luxury of working anywhere at any time and being in constant command of the power to acknowledge problems and act with more haste, more so by far than if they carry a laptop or smartphone. This has led to a rush to provide healthcare professionals with the digital tools they need:

* Epocrates Rx: This regularly updated app allows doctors to access prescribing and safety information for thousands of drugs. Best of all, this app allows doctors to cross-check the interactions of up to 30 different drugs, preventing patients from having adverse reactions from being on multiple medications.

* ATP III Guideline Calculator: Medical professionals can use this application to help them calculate individualized LDL treatment goals using the Adult Treatment Panel III cholesterol guidelines for patients with high cholesterol. In the past, this calculator worked only on a limited number of platforms, but it has now been optimized to work on a variety of tablet devices.

* Johns Hopkins University Antibiotic Guide: This useful and informative application is regularly updated on infectious diseases. Some of its main features include treatment guidelines, diagnostic criteria and a comprehensive list of information about medications and organisms.

* Diagnosaurus: Diagnosaurus is excellent app for doctors who need to diagnose their patients’ symptoms quickly. This software application provides lists of differential diagnoses for various symptoms or diseases and is not only useful for generating ideas about what could be causing a patient’s symptoms, but also reminds doctors of possible alternate diagnoses for a condition. In some cases, it also provides etiologies, or causes of certain entries, such as lactic acidosis.

For healthcare IT, tablets represent a goldmine of potential implementation. Not only do tablets boast a plethora of networking features, but their programming is also relatively hassle-free, as are their publishing applications. Simply put, tablets are 100 percent mobile, network-enabled computers capable of all the functions of a standard desktop system. With the price of the technology soon to fall in the wake of added competition to the iPad and Xoom, there is little reason these devices should remain at the margins of medical technology.

Clearly tablet computers are an excellent option, not only for doctors, but also for the IT systems that support them. Their complete mobility and versatility make them a better mobile option than laptops and PDAs, while their enhanced processing power and larger screens improve their applicability beyond that of other wireless devices.

Patricia Walling is a graduate student working toward her Masters in Conservation Biology. She has both professional and volunteer experience in a hospital environment and currently resides in Washington state.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.

5 Comments

  • John,
    Just to let you know the Lexicomp drug information app is fully optimized for the iPad. If you haven’t heard about our app, it provides in depth, evidence-based content including specialized info on pediatrics, geriatrics, oncology, cardiology, and more. In addition to drug information, we have over 20 different specialized areas of information such as diagnoses and diseases, poisoning and toxicology, drug and allergy interactions, drug ID, pharmacogenomics, natural products, IV compatibility and more. Our drug information is currently in use in more than 3000 hospitals in the United States, plus the US. Military.

  • Hello Sandy,

    This is Charlie and I am a content writer of some health community. I was browsing your blog https://www.healthcareittoday.com/ and really liked it. You have published some very informative posts in your blog.

    And I was wondering if you can publish one of our articles in your blog. We have researched well to put together content for this article. Your visitors might benefit from this information.

    So if you can give me the permit then I can go ahead for this.

    An early response is highly appreciated.

    Thank you
    Charlie

  • I’m not sure who Sandy is. Looks like a cut and paste job to me trying to solicit articles.

    We do accept guest posts as long as they are valuable, on target and useful for our readers. If they aren’t we deny them and turn them back. The content also has to be unique for our site. The links in the content have to be relevant and not just trying to game google.

    There’s a contact us form if you want to discuss more: https://www.healthcareittoday.com/contact-us/

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