iPad can accelerate new era of care

By Molly Merrill
09:45 AM

Technology is always promising something and the iPad is no exception with some seeing it as a “game changer” for healthcare, and physicians in particular.

Connecticut physician Steven A. R. Murphy proposes that every doctor should use one.  “The iPad is going to crush laptops in this [healthcare] space,” he said.

Murphy, the managing partner of The Personalized Medicine Group of Connecticut, said he was purchasing one of Apple’s 3G iPads to test it for any bugs. 

He and the two other doctors in the practice can remotely view their patients’ medical records wherever they have Internet access.  The patients’ EMRs are securely stored with cloud computing technology, but using Google Enterprise the doctors can view them on their iPads.

Murphy’s only concern about his new purchase is that there are certain areas of Connecticut where they do home visits where there is no 3G network. One area is actually fighting against having a cell phone tower, he said.
“We are also waiting for our storage company to create an iPad app for access to our servers that is better than the one we are using now,” he said.

Kaweah Delta Health Care District in California plans to buy more than 100 iPads in the next couple of months, says Nick Volosin, ISS director of technical services at the hospital. The hospital piloted the use of three iPads and two 3G iPads to get feedback on how applications ran on them compared to the tablets and laptops clinicians were using.

Volosin says that departments like pharmacy, emergency, dietary, home health, hospice, clinical engineering/bioMed, private practice physicians and nursing supervisors are all being considered as potential users because their current mobile device has become a “barrier” for them because of its size, weight and battery life.

According to feedback from its emergency department the iPad is also a potential cost saver. The emergency department estimates that it could trade a COW (Computer on Wheels) which, costs $7,500 for 3 iPads, costing $1,500.

Kaweah Delta Health Care District is also looking into having the iPad work with a barcode scanner for a portable device for MAK (Medication Administration Check), which helps prevent medication errors, said Volosin.
“The iPad is currently the best mobile ‘thin’ client available.  I think it is a device, which can help escalate going ‘paperless’,” he said.

Steve Woodruff, founder and president of Impactiviti, a resource for pharma, biotech and medical device training professionals, believes the iPad will be the platform that accelerates eHealthcare on the provider side.

“It’s not so much that the iPad is a game-changer in and of itself – it should be an accelerator of trends that are already happening, and inevitable,” he said. 

“The iPad is pretty incredible and could usher in a whole new approach to healthcare IT (interfacing to and interacting with an EMR/EHR system) that may result in physicians adopting and using such technology, willingly,” John Moore of Chilmark Research wrote last month in his blog. “Could we even go so far as to say that the iPad will be a bigger contributor to health IT adoption and use than the $40 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding that the feds will spend over the next several years as part of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act? Only time will tell.”