Six ways iPads and mobile tablets are used in hospitals

April 25, 2019

From patient registration to the doctor’s daily rounds, iPads and mobile tablets are steadily making their presence felt in hospitals and throughout the healthcare realm.

This uptake of the latest technology is offering patients a better insight into their care, affording them entertainment while in hospital and streamlining the handling of patient information.

Here’s an insight into six ways iPads and mobile tablets are used in hospitals…

Customer reception

Hospitals can be overwhelming places. They’re vast rabbit warrens of services, wards, and outpatient clinics that can be tricky to navigate for the new arrival or visitor.

This is just one way that static iPads and mobile tablets can assist. Positioned in the information and reception area as information kiosks, they allow patients, guests and even visiting staff to quickly work out which service is where and the location they need to attend.

In the process, they alleviate the pressure on reception staff or volunteers, by providing a kiosk that can answer frequently asked questions and offer up-to the minute information on what’s happening where in an institution.

Patient registration

Paperwork is one of the most time-consuming, tedious elements of the healthcare system, frustrating patients and medical professionals alike. But in many hospitals the iPad and mobile tablet are now replacing the clipboard and pen as a way to register new patients.

In the US, Becker’s Healthcare Review notes mobile devices offer a more efficient, more effective, and less error-prone way to capture all the essential information required of patients, and then have it immediately at hand.

Doctor’s rounds

As long ago as 2010, the benefits of mobile devices were being explored by doctors doing their daily hospital rounds.

Cult of Mac explains in hospitals like the MetroSouth Medical Center in Chicago, the iPad quickly became the tool of choice once doctors realized they could use the device to access hospital records.

“At least half of our staff here in the emergency room has their own iPad and carries it and uses it,” Emergency Room worker Dr Richard Watson said at the time.

iPad Hospital Stand

Looking to deploy an iPad into your hospital?

Patient welfare

Fast Company notes major hospitals like Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles are using iPads to improve patient care.

Provided to some patients, the iPads serve as a one-stop shop where they can access information about their illness, review the medical information, message relevant staff, order magazines and find out about medication side effects.

A patient waiting for a heart transplant told Fast Company the mobile device allowed him to feel “more in charge of his own care”.

Meanwhile, Tech Crunch also cites a further trial at Cedars-Sinai which sees new parents utilise the iPad to FaceTime with sick or premature newborns.

“These babies need to be kept isolated from the outside world and the germs that come with it, so new parents aren’t usually able to see their baby for a few days after they are born.

“But, with what the nurses refer to as BabyTime (FaceTime for babies), parents can interact virtually with their little one while they wait.”

Entertainment

iPads and mobile devices aren’t just restricted to patient welfare and record keeping, they’re also working to improve the efficiency of daily operations.

Phoenix Children’s Hospital has also recently applied it to food ordering.

Mobi-Health news says they implemented a feature that lets patients order food from the iPad. It’s tuned to each patient’s specific diet and allergies, so they’ll only see foods they can eat.

At Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Arizona, the iPad is being utilised in a slightly different roll, replacing televisions as the entertainment device of choice.

Mobi-Health News says the devices allow patients to access streamed movies and shows along with entertainment like games, including some with a specific educational and safety focus.

Ultimately, streamed entertainment is a better fit in a hospital environment that is prone to interruptions, they note, while short educational content about illnesses allows the young patients and their families the opportunity to watch the information again and absorb it.

Food ordering

iPads and mobile devices aren’t just restricted to patient welfare and record keeping, they’re also working to improve the efficiency of daily operations.

Phoenix Children’s Hospital has also recently applied it to food ordering.

Mobi-Health news says they implemented a feature that lets patients order food from the iPad. It’s tuned to each patient’s specific diet and allergies, so they’ll only see foods they can eat.

The final word

The likelihood is over the coming years, more and more mobile devices including tablets and iPads will be employed throughout the health sector as hospitals and healthcare institutions make the shift from legacy systems and paperwork to tech-based solutions.

And major tech companies like Apple and Samsung are investing heavily in this trend, catering to new applications and security features that all work to improve the clinician and patient’s experience.

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