iPad helps podiatrist deliver better care

By Molly Merrill
10:28 AM

A podiatrist in private practice in Birmingham, Ala., says using an iPad has improved his workflow and given him more time with his patients.

Todd Falls, DPM, a solo provider at Montclair Podiatry and an attending physician in the Department of Podiatric Surgery at St. Vincent's Hospital, is an early adopter of the iPad and says using the new technology was a "no brainer."

Falls made the transition to using a Web-based EHR from San Francisco-based Practice Fusion in February 2011, around the same time that the company announced that they were partnering with remote access software company LogMeIn to launch iPad access to their EHR. This allowed Falls to pay a one-time $29 fee that would connect his EMR account to the iPad.

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Falls and his on-staff pedorthist use iPads when seeing patients, but he says, "My plan is to slowly transition the nursing and back office staff to iPads as soon as a native Practice Fusion application becomes available."

He says he carries his iPad around in a "pretty rugged sleeve that has a handle strap on the back" and says it is "certainly more rugged than a laptop."

"Being able to have something small to carry room-to-room has been a huge help as well as the outstanding screen resolution," Falls said, referring to what sold him on using an iPad.

He says using the iPad has also allowed him more time with his patients – he sees 35-40 a day – and to engage with them more.

[See also: Docs use iPad to check on patient status, treatment.]

"I am able to remain in the room with the patient while I am doing my note or prescription. Oftentimes, I can ask them to clarify a point that I may have overlooked."

Falls says using the iPad has not significantly changed the way that he practices medicine, though.

"I still still treat the patients as I have before the iPad," he said. "However, I think as native apps become available, not only Practice Fusion but also for medical animations, medical image documentation, lab ordering increase, it may change some of my patient care protocols."

[See also: iPad 2 looks even better for docs.]

As for moving to the iPad 2, Falls is not sure. But if he were to make the switch, it would be because of the camera, which he says would be helpful to document certain patient conditions.

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