Published On January 15, 2011
With the rise of smartphones and tablets, powerful computers are at our fingertips and in our pockets. These medical bloggers ponder how such devices will be integrated into patient care, from a nurse facing resistance to her use of apps to one doctor’s tongue-in-cheek vision of the fully connected physician.
PHONING IT IN
One day as a new nurse, I can’t recall the normal value of a certain cardiological test. After I whip out my iPhone with Medical Lab app, I find the answer in two minutes.
Problem solved…or so I think. One of my superiors, armed with a death glare, tells me: “Sarah, you need to put your phone away while working. It really looks bad, and you are not focused on patient care.”
I beg to differ. I looked up the answer to my question in half the time it would have taken me to flip through some 10-year-old manual on the other side of the unit.
How can we help nurses understand that these new technologies allow us to be more efficient and better engaged with patients?
A DOSE OF TABLETS
The convergence of electronic medical records with social types of communication might go something like this:
When I see a patient, I record basic information on a tablet at the bedside. I complete the record at my workstation, which syncs with my tablet. On my large flat-screen monitor, the patient’s electronic medical record occupies the left side. On the right is a communication portal that provides real-time contact with my local pediatrician colleagues.
So I’m at my workstation when a message pops up from a colleague who wonders if I have a minute to discuss a case via telechat.
A boy with ulcerative colitis has mild cramping and occasional blood-streaked stools. The patient’s name is tagged, so his chart appears on my screen. I see that his Colazal dose is low relative to his recent growth. I recommend some blood work and a bump in his Colazal dose.
The system recognizes that I’m discussing UC and Colazal. In a panel on my screen appear four recent publications on another UC treatment. I select one study, and it’s immediately available on my desktop.
On the lower left part of the screen, I can monitor the dialogue between patients and our triage nurse. Serious issues are flagged for me so I can review the thread or recorded tele-exchange. I can then communicate directly with the nurse or patient.
How cool would that be?
Once iPads have front-facing camera chips, hospitalists will be able to set up telemedicine/iPad (“TeliPad”) consulting practices. All you need is a trusted RN to take vitals and walk from room to room with an iPad showing your charming hospitalist face to all the little old ladies. Using your own iPad, you can dictate your physical examination and hospital discharge summary via voice transcription software. You can even have your charges sent to your billing company for rapid cash flow turnaround.
And you can do this all while using Google Maps to find your way to the Four Seasons in downtown Miami. In a declining payment environment, TeliPad medicine represents an incredible opportunity to earn extra money while driving.