The Clinical iPad? 25 Ways Tablet PCs Are Used in Healthcare
Recently, Apple unveiled it’s tablet PC, the iPad. There was, as expected, a great deal of hype surrounding the iPad as Apple enthusiasts and haters alike considered possible applications for the iPad. One of the places where the iPad could really gain traction, though, is in the healthcare industry. The iPhone is already sometimes used by healthcare professionals to aid in their jobs, and tablet PCs are already making their way into hospitals and clinics. When the iPad is ready for shipping, it’s quite likely that it will find a place in healthcare. Here are 25 ways tablet PCs are used in healthcare right now:
- Wound care management: Tablet PCs outfitted with cameras can help accurately measure wounds and capture a record of the progress of wound healing, helping doctors get a better picture of whether treatments are having the desired effect.
- Monitor vitals: There are now mobile vital signs monitors, but they aren’t exactly PCs. However, there are some PCs that can be used to monitor vital signs, making it possible to coordinate vitals with health records.
- Patient tracking: It is possible to keep better track of patients with tablet PCs. Doctors and nurses that use them get automatic updates when patients are moved, or when they have new needs. This can be done through RFID readers that scan barcodes at patient beds.
- Accurate prescriptions: Instead of trying to decipher doctor scrawl, it is possible for doctors to electronically use tablet PCs to select prescriptions and more accurately and legibly prepare scripts.
- Faster prescription fulfillment: Wireless capabilities on tablet PCs can streamline the entire prescription process by sending orders quickly. This can be to outside pharmacies, or to the in-hospital pharmacy.
- Medication management: Not only are tablet PCs used to keep track of which medications a patient is taking, and to write prescriptions that are easy to read, but better medication management is seen with tablet PCs. How much has been taken, and in what doses, can be managed on the go.
- Drug interactions: It is easy to get instant access to drug interactions, as well as record the type of reaction a patient is having to a prescription.
- Diagnosis help: Sometimes a doctor or surgeon needs to consult notes and references when making a diagnosis. With a tablet PC, it is quick and easy to access information that can help with a timely and accurate diagnosis.
- Treatment plans: It is possible to use a tablet PC to quickly create a treatment plan, and then track progress of the intended regimen.
- Medical alerts: With a tablet PC, it is possible to receive medical alerts quickly. Different alarms can be used in the hospital rooms, and send signals to the PC, alerting doctors or nurses to a problem — and what it is.
- Immediate entry of medical data: In many cases, greater error can be introduced into the health records system when charts are written, and then copied, and then entered into the computer later. With mobile computing, tablet PCs make it possible for immediate entry, reducing errors in some cases.
- Health information in real time: Tablet PCs are used for looking up real time health information that can be of use.
- Lab results: Instead of waiting for lab results, they can be sent instantly to a doctor or nurse with a tablet PC, providing instant access to results.
- Imaging: In addition to receiving lab results, it is also possible to receive imaging. Doctors, nurses and specialists can have x-rays and other images sent to the tablet PC, and they can easily be referred to when speaking with patients.
- Access to medical case studies: Tablet PCs, especially those that can get online, can provide helpful access to medical case studies that can help doctors and nurses better treat patients.
- Patient access to data: Tablet PCs can make it easy for patients to get access to their own data. Since it is entered in at that point, there are no waits for records to be updated. And doctors can pull up data quickly for patient perusal.
- Rich media to prepare patients: It is possible to use rich media functions in tablet PCs to prepare patients for procedures, and let them see what is going to happen, and show them what they need to do to prepare. It leads to a more prepared patient.
- Shift changes: Instead of having to go to a specific station for shift changes, it is possible to simply pass a tablet PC off, signing out and then having the new recipient sign in. This streamlines the process, and helps shift changes move more smoothly.
- Transmission of patient data: New shifts find it easier to keep up with what has been happening with patients, since the information is right there in their hands. No need to constant flip through pages on charts when you have the patient data easy to see in your hands.
- Sharing records with others: Frequently, physicians need to share data with colleagues, especially if there is a team treating one person. Tablet PCs make it easy to send data between doctors and nurses, as well as take and send images so that those off site can have a look at the situation.
- Billing: Healthcare billing is streamlined with help from tablet PCs. This allows you to capture billing costs immediately, and can reduce some errors.
- Electronic auditing: It is also possible to use tablet PCs when auditing financial transactions, or other transactions. It is a mobile way to record information and compare it.
- Inventory control: Hospitals can use tablet PCs equipped with RFID to keep tabs on inventory. From utensils to drugs to scrubs and gloves, it is possible to keep better track of certain items of inventory.
- Speech capture: Many tablet PCs have microphones and recording capabilities. This makes it easier for doctors to record their diagnoses, without another device, and the information can be transcribed later.
- Family interaction with patients: Sometimes, family members can’t come directly to the hospital for some reason or another. In such cases, it can be useful for tablet PCs to provide a way for patients to interact with their family and friends. Hospital visits this way can help cheer up patients.
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