Update on Tablet Usage in the Health Care Industry

A Growing Trend?

By Cyndi Laurenti

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The rapidly evolving technological era has ushered a host of industries into the digital world, including the medical field. Health care professionals in private and public institutions and even masters and PhD programs are quickly learning the immense benefits of utilizing technology in their practices and this has specifically included the use of the tablet computer.

Convenience and Mobility

In addition to the convenience tablets offer in size and mobility, more and more production companies are creating interfaces and programs specifically geared towards the healthcare industry and the tablet computer makes them more accessible and dynamic than the traditional clipboard. This is crucial in an industry where time is of the essence and life-changing decisions are made from moment to moment. Having a tablet computer puts the latest resources and tools in doctors and other health care professionals’ hands so they can make decisions efficiently.

Brand Neutral?

Although Tablet computers tend to be associated with the most popular brands like the iPad by Apple, a recent survey of 178 doctors indicated that even though the healthcare industry wants a tablet, it may not necessarily want the iPad in particular which does not have all the applications they require.

A whole industry of tablets has been specifically designed to meet the medical field’s particular needs, one example being the motion computing tablet PC. The West Clinic in Memphis which was founded by Supportive Oncology Services (SOS) and which caters for over 10,000 patients found that the motion computing tablet computer enabled them not only to streamline information between patients and physicians, but that it also lead to an improved quality of care and life for their patients and increased efficiency for their caregivers.

Other Healthcare Early Adopters

Another facility that adapted the use of tablet computers is the Lancaster General Hospital in Lancaster, PA, which has been rated as one of the top 100 hospitals for its efficiency and quality of care. The doctors and nurses are currently using 170 tablet computers in 21 units for a variety of tasks. Jon White, M.D. called it a ‘productivity tool’ and it is utilized around the hospital for patient safety through an application that assigns drugs through a unique bar code which ensures the right patient is getting the right medication and dose. It is also used to access patient records from anywhere in the hospital, review patient orders or test results, and access a library of medical reference information.

A third facility that utilizes the tablet computer is St. Mary’s Medical Center, an acute care facility in Evanville, Indiana, that provides inpatient and outpatient care. The tablet computer has currently replaced their paper-based patient charts, and cut down nurses’ charting times significantly.

Assessment

There is little doubt that the tablet computer has and will continue to revolutionize the healthcare industry. Tremendous positive changes have been made like the streamlining of once time-consuming and arduous processes. This increased efficiency ultimately translates into quality care for patients and the continued advancement of the medical field.

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