I have had my iPad for nearly two months. I couldn’t wait for them to come on sale in Canada and arranged for someone to pick one up for me in the US. I continue to be amazed by this device and, like many people, can see many potential medical applications for it. However, I am not a doctor (though my mother, a retired nurse, still secretly wishes that I had picked a career in medicine) and cannot speak with any authority on actual use of the iPad in a healthcare setting. Hence, I have been actively looking for any first-hand accounts of physicians using an iPad and I found one today.
Dr. Henry Feldman is hospitalist in a US hospital and wrote an in-depth account of his experience using an iPad to make his rounds. Overall, he was very enthusiastic, stating that “In general, it was incredibly useful”. Specific comments include:
- “For any provider who is highly mobile this blows the doors off of the COWS (computer on wheels) which is like rolling a file cabinet around.”
- “Battery life is epic …. On an average full 13 hour stretch with heavy use burned 28% of the battery”
- “I was worried that it would be ‘heavy’, but found that it wasn’t hard to carry all day (and we really moved around a lot).”
- “The device itself is very fast and wakeup from sleep or app switching is essentially instant”
- “Performance was amazing, with screens updating faster than many of the desktops on the wards.”
- “Showing patient’s their EDD/ERCP pics, results/trends … really helped with understanding by the patients.”
- “Probably the most useful was rounding (or the nurse snagging you as you walked by) and during a trigger where I could stay at the bedside and do/see everything and not leave my critically ill patient.”
Reading Dr. Feldman’s complete post it is clear that he is a “geek” doctor (he talked about tweaking MySQL from the iPad). That said, his enthusiasm is clear and his observations on what makes the iPad useful are illuminating.