A recent survey conducted by Black Book Rankings reveals that physicians are increasingly relying on mobile apps in their daily practice. The trend is somewhat attributable to the Affordable Care Act which provides incentives to doctors and hospitals to digitize Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and make them available via mobile devices.
As a result, physicians are now using mobile applications in their practice more than ever before. Some functions of medical-based mobile apps include the ability to remotely view and update charts, coordinate schedules and appointments, place lab orders, access patient records and even prescribe medication.
The study found that amongst physicians who use medical mobile apps on smartphones, 68 percent use iPhones while 31 percent use Android-based devices. Perhaps not surprisingly, this preference for iOS extends beyond the smartphone realm and includes tablets as well. The survey found that 59 percent of physicians who use mobile apps do so on a tablet device, and from within that group, most prefer the iPad.
That the iPhone and iPad are the preferred devices amongst physicians isn't all that surprising given the number of hospitals that are increasingly incorporating iOS devices into the work place.
Back in April, for example, we reported on a hospital in Los Angeles which began deploying FaceTime-equipped iPads in its neonatal intensive care unit as a means to facilitate communication between mothers and newborns when face-to-face interaction isn't yet possible. Such scenarios can arise when a new mother has post-operative complications or an infection which may put the newborn infant at risk.
Just yesterday, we also reported on how one hospital was able to recoup its investment in iPads in just nine days.
Lastly, it's worth pointing out that Apple has a special page on its website highlighting how a prominent Canadian hospital has successfully deployed iPads as a means to help doctors and nurses perform important tasks and increase the overall level and efficiency of care.
Physicians at The Ottawa Hospital have started using iPad in innovative new ways. They can use the built-in iPad camera to photograph a patient's wound during treatment, and store the image in the patient's electronic medical record for future reference.
Using iPad, physicians can show patients the progress of their recovery right at the bedside, Dr. Geiger notes. "I can say, 'Here's what your wound looked like three weeks ago.' I'm showing them what it looked like then and what it looks like today."
iPad fits physicians' workflows in many ways, Potter says: "The form factor of iPad is very attractive. The screen size is optimal. There's almost instant access to information. Battery life exceeds the length of a shift. It's critically important for a physician to be able to know that they can rely on that device, work for an entire shift, and provide the same level of care to all their patients."
The video below highlights how The Ottawa Hospital has been using iPads to improve patient care. It's well worth watching.