Preloaded iPads improve patient experience

Windsor Healthcare offers a library and webcams, but not many people use them. With the ipad, it’s hoped more patients will avail themselves of its communication tools and reading materials.

NORWOOD, NJ – When people are "moved into a medical environment from their home, it's very disorienting," says Joshua Jacobs, vice president of Windsor Healthcare, a Norwood, N.J.-based recovery, rehabilitation and nursing facility. "When they're taken out of their routine, it's very easy to lose focus."

Jacobs started thinking about how iPads might help with entertainment and communication with family members. "We always try to look for innovations and new technology and new ideas we can bring to patient care," he says. "We have libraries and computers with cameras, but the truth is most people don't use those for communications and video-chatting. It's not as convenient as an iPad would be."

Problem is, it's a pretty big investment to purchase that many $600 iPads. "It would cost us a lot to bring this service to our patient," says Jacobs. "We thought about doing a rental system in-house, that would be a little cumbersome for us to do the whole program."

Enter Manhattan-based Pad in Motion. The company is only a few months old, only focuses on the New York area right now, and is just rolling out into a few hospitals this month. But it’s hoping more and more inpatient facilities and software developers will see the appeal of its rental model.

Pad in Motion co-founder Nir Altman points out that studies have long shown a positive correlation between patient happiness and recovery time. By "improving the patient experience," he says, there's a good chance a hospital can improve the speed with which they get well. And by delivering pre-loaded iPads, stocked with an array of games, movies, books and magazines – and, crucially, the connectivity afforded by Twitter, Skype and Facebook – the company hopes to help contribute to that patient experience.

"We screen and hand-pick the best apps, whether they be entertainment or magazines, lifestyle, whatever, out of hundreds of thousands on iTunes, based on their track records – ones that have won most awards, ones featuring into top 20 lists of reputable publications, etc," says Gabe Vorobiof, MD, Pad in Motion's co-founder.

(Vorobiof, a board certified cardiologist, also oversees the five-point germicidal and antimicrobial hygiene process for iPads returning from loan – obviously a key concern in a hospital setting.)

"It's difficult to be a hospital patient," says Pad in Motion co-founder Nir Altman. "One is taken from their everyday normalcy and friends and family to really being suddenly cut off from that environment and losing that connectivity." Customized iPads – "each completely different, based on the preference of the renter" –could help ameliorate that difficulty, if even a little.

"We try to serve our patients in the best way possible," says Jacobs. "This allows people to stay connected with their pre-hospital life."