How iPads Improve the Patient Experience

The Mayo Clinic and Henry Ford Hospital are just two healthcare organizations that are finding ways to enhance the patient experience using Apple's tablet technology.

17 comments on "How iPads Improve the Patient Experience"
Jan Rumaks (4/30/2012 at 2:18 PM)

Very innovative uses. How do you manage inventory control (ie keep patients, visitors and/or staff from making off with the I-pad or Android tablets)?
Lu Borges (4/20/2012 at 12:04 AM)

We've been using touch devices (iPods, iPads) for several years now in our pediatric hospital (Child Life Department) with amazing results. Our primary use is for supporting peds patients during invasive medical procedures and in prepping them for surgeries. I've posted alot of info on our page, but would be glad to share info with anyone.
Shawn Baker (4/19/2012 at 3:15 PM)

1) Regarding Jenkins comment I agree that only considering the Apple product may limit your ability to find the best solution for your organization. We are implementing the use of Android tablets in our 25 provider Orthopedic Clinic. Our 1st step was to test the Ipad and 3 versions of Android tablets. All the units except 1 had at least minor problems running our EMR application. The Ipad was the worst. Fortunately we found one that worked wonderfully. We also use a docking station with a keyboard, mouse and large monitor in every exam room. The MA or provider walks into the room, puts their tablet into the dock and 3 seconds later the image pops onto the monitor and the unit looks and feels like a PC. This is cheaper and more efficient than having a PC in every room. If it was a PC the caregiver would have to log in everytime they entered a room. Speed is critical to us so any time savings is huge. 2) Regarding HIPPA security. Our EMR is web based so as long as you use passwords, a stolen tablet or laptop should pose no risk of data exposure. There should be no patient data residing on the tablet. I'm always looking for improvement so please comment if you have any ideas. Thanks! Shawn Baker, EMR Project Manager (contractor), Eastern Oklahoma Orthopedic Center. 812-709-1028
David (4/19/2012 at 1:17 PM)

Another consequence of bringing iPads into the workplace is the ergonomic impact. A few writers, physicians, and research groups are beginning to address the topic. Harvard University released a study in January citing, among other tablets, the iPad as a device that deserves more ergonomic consideration. My personal complaint is that tablets are not very comfortable to hold and use all day. Sure they're light weight. But look at they way they're held. You have to almost pinch your hand like a crab to hold it. My hand therapist tells me this is a problem. Imagine a surgeon who carries an iPad all day at the hospital whose hands become fatigued. The muscles she uses to hold an iPad are the same used to grip a scalpel. Just google "iPad ergonomics" to see what others are saying. The iPad is a great tool. It's going to be used in healthcare. Managing its implementation and the human factors seems like the thing to do.
diabetes researcher (4/19/2012 at 10:58 AM)

I am currently working on a type one diabetes research study in a major urban clinic. We are using i pads to administer participant questionnaires. The paper versions of these documents are over 20 pages in length so utilizing this technology not only saves us money in the long run but shows the patient that we are using our resources wisely. It is also a powerful tool becasue it allows us to be able to customize the questionnaires to each specific participant's experience living with diabetes. In otherwords, the answer to question #1 will determine what question #2 will be... and so forth. I think it's cutting edge, but possible on many mobile devices, not just apple's.
Ronald Yap, MD (4/19/2012 at 9:56 AM)

I think mobile apps are a great way to further empower patients and improve doctor/patient communication. Obviously, there are regulatory/logistical issues to be worked out. The most beneficial aspects are patient education as well as the ability to monitor health remotely. I've created two urologic apps that allow patients to keep track of their symptoms and share them with their doctors - Prostate Pal and Bladder Pal. It's a burgeoning field and there are certainly detractors, but medicine needs to use every current option to bring patient and doctor together as well as improve efficiency of care. Ron
Clay Foley (4/19/2012 at 9:55 AM)

Regardless of the brand used, the tablet can be a great tool to take you paperless, not just electronic. To my knowledge, Apple's closed operating system had yet to be penetrated by viruses. However, there are other brands out there that can be made as secure as the desktops used throughout hospitals and practices.
Jackie, RN-BC (4/18/2012 at 8:47 AM)

I would advise any and every one thinking of using these in the medical environment to be cautious and completely aware of your orginazation's policies. I work for the one of the largest health care providers in the state of Texas. One director of marketing was recently forced to resign after her iPad (hospital issued) was stolen from her private vehicle while working a hospital designated community event. Once it was released to the public that the device may have contained HIPPA related information on multiple patients, a threatened lawsuit insued. The employee was then forced to resign in response to the threatened lawsuit. The technology is great but beware.
MJ Starke (4/17/2012 at 4:16 PM)

It seems by the very "touchy" nature of iPads they would be a nightmare for patients with contact precautions thus limiting the use of such devices. Also, keeping track of all the iPads in a busy hospital environment would just be one extra thing RNs would have to worry about as well as another expensive piece of equiptment for the hospital to maintain and track. All this adds to higher costs. No thanks.
Jenkins Khan (4/17/2012 at 10:17 AM)

A few comments: 1) This may seem obvious but where is the discussion regarding the compliance of these devices? Security issues aside, the current Ipad design is not a health grade device. How are the hospitals mentioned above guarding against "spills", [INVALID]s, infection, etc... of these devices. 2) This article could have easily been retitled as "Mobile Devices Improve the Patient Experience". I understand the love affair with the Apple community but any tablet solution can provide these same benefits. IOS is a closed environment and unless Apple makes devices that address my point above, Android/Windows devices seem the better choice since there are already products coming into the market place that address my first comment.
Jelle Barentsz (4/17/2012 at 8:06 AM)

In my TEDX presentation, I focussed on how e-communication, including I-PAD enables implementation of novel MRI techniques to diagnose prostate cancer. Also this technique can be used to bring MRI-improved treatment at the doorstep of the patient. Please see: patient participation in prostate
Rick Harris (4/17/2012 at 3:37 AM)

Some interesting examples here, although some appear to be as much about the clinican experience of embracing technology as the patient. For me the key factor here is how the iPad itself as a device is the catalyst for these developments. The technology to manage a hospital rooms' physical environment (lighting etc.) from the bedside has been around for years, but the interface itself has been clunky. iPads capture the imagination of user, UI designer and health practitioners alike. My guess for where iPads will really help the experience of people living with health conditions is outside of the clinical environment. Hospital in-patients needing acute care is a carefully managed place, but consider the home environment. That's where not just patients, but carers, friends and family interact on an everyday basis, not an appointment based regime. By developing apps that seek to make everyday living more normal, more accessible and connected, iPads can touch and improve the lives of millions.
Kathy Bomar RN Clinical educator (4/16/2012 at 11:07 AM)

I use my iPad everyday at work. It is vital to keeping me on track and productive. I also use it for teaching nurses and patients. The apps I have used most are Medscape, Finr (brain anatomy and changes with disease), iTunes university (videos for caregivers/brain tumor survivors), micromedex, track it (seizure log), neuromind, aacn to go, and my medical ( helps me keep up with my medical, my husband, daughter, and elderly parents medical info and appointments.
Keely McMullin, CCLS (4/16/2012 at 9:32 AM)

Great article. Great product. iPads are also proving to be invaluable for Child Life Specialists in hospitals across the nation. Using iPads for developmentally appropriate procedure preparation, diagnosis education, and other therapeutic interventions has helped improve quality of care to hospitalized children and families since implementation.
Melissa Herrett (4/12/2012 at 8:43 AM)

Marianne- Thank you for your aticle. The iPad definitely seems as if it is finding a place in healthcare. I wanted to share another innovative use of the iPad. Norton Healthcare in Kentucky used the iPad to conduct employee surveys, where employees shared their thoughts and opinions about patient care and other organizational factors. Leadership at Norton then used the data from the survey to improve the overall hospital atmosphere. Although not directly used by patients, this is just another example of how the iPad can be used to improve healthcare organizations. Read more about Norton's use of the iPad here: Again, thanks for the article. It was very interesting!
monica grasveld (4/12/2012 at 3:49 AM)

I'd like to introduce the 5th way: real time measuring Patient Perception through the I pad application PPP-zorg. A Dutch invention, but very well translatable in other countries. Kristien I agree it is all about the balance between art and science: this web based application help teams to improve their art & science!!
Kristin Baird, RN, BSN, MHA (4/11/2012 at 3:08 PM)

Marianne, Thanks for this story. I'm always glad to see organizations using technology to improve the patient experience. The real proof of success, however, will be maintaining the balance between the art and the science. Healthcare is, and will remain, a human-centered service. The technology in these examples is truly a value-added solution.


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