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Bring on the New iPad: Tablet Computing at My Medical Practice


The evolution of the tablet has allowed me to be more efficient with data capture at the point of care.

Being the technology junkie that I am, I am particularly excited about this week's newest technology offerings. I have been using an EHR successfully in my private practice since I started in 2003. During that time, I have used tablet computers to complete my office notes while in the room with my patients.

Initially, the patients were somewhat amazed that I was able to use such a small device to record details from their encounters. From the time of my start up, I have used several different tablet PCs and the evolution of the tablet has allowed me to be more efficient with data capture at the point of care. Not only is the size of the tablet small, but it allows the physician to accurately enter data from the office visit and also allows for enabling positive eye-to-eye contact. Such a connection cannot be maintained with the use of larger desktop machines in the exam room.

The unveiling of the latest iPad from Apple is particularly interesting. I have used a first generation iPad since it was released in 2010. Interestingly, I am not using an iPad for data capture in the exam room, however I have found it to be more useful when I need to access patient information outside the borders of my office.

My EHR presently is beta testing an application for the iPad and I have been participating in the testing from day one. I have found the usefulness of the iPad application to be particularly valuable for accessing patient information when I am rounding in the hospital and nursing homes. Furthermore, I am also able to easily access patient information remotely when making home visits. Once the final version of the application has been refined and has completed the beta testing process, I do intend to provide an iPad to each of my nurses for patient care and will also provide one to each of my nurse practitioners as well.

Even though I do not have access to the most recent iPad at present, I am eager to get one implemented into my office practice. The first generation iPad is easily able to access the Internet and use medical applications. However, the newest version has a faster processor and will be able to more easily run many applications simultaneously. There are several very useful applications available on the iTunes store as free downloads and these applications can greatly add to the efficiency of patient care.

It is important to remember that the iPad and other similar Android machines are not considered to be a replacement for a more robust tablet PC, however adding the small portable tablets to your arsenal of patient care tools can be very effective. However you choose to use these small tablets in your practice, you will notice a nice improvement in the efficiency of care you can provide.

A disclaimer, I am not financially compensated by Apple and am simply a very satisfied user.

Find out more about J. Scott Litton and our other Practice Notes bloggers.

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