iPads have been used by doctors for many years now, but Apple reportedly has ambitions for the tablet to be placed into the hands of every hospital patient.

iPads are already being made available to patients in a number of U.S. hospitals in a program intended to give them direct access to their own medical records …

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TechCrunch says that hospitals involved in the pilot include Jacobs Medical Center at UC San Diego, MetroSouth Medical Center in Chicago and Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.

Cedars was already allowing patients to see their own medical records, but it wasn’t working brilliantly before they trialled the iPads.

Without the iPad, doctors and nurses have to follow a paper trail and then write up duplicate information on a white board often found on the back wall in the patient’s room. Mistakes can happen and, as Cedars-Sinai doctor Shaun Miller told me, the staff often run out of room to write, leading to confusion or a lack of information for the patient.

Cedar says that the iPad-based system also makes it easier for nurses.

The nursing staff often get stuck with duplicate work requiring both educating patients on care and checking to see if they have all the necessary information. However, the program offers educational videos on the iPad and a handy way for patients to see all their information at the same time.

The neonatal intensive care unit is also using iPads in a different, and rather touching, way.

New parents are utilizing unmodified iPads to FaceTime with their newborns who may be sick or premature. These babies need to be kept isolated from the outside world and the germs that come with it so new parents aren’t usually able to see their baby for a few days after they are born. But, with what the nurses refer to as BabyTime (FaceTime for babies), parents can interact virtually with their little one while they wait.

Interestingly, the only patient quote TechCrunch includes about access to medical records is from someone rather lukewarm about it. Personally, I like to know what’s going on when I’m in the hospital, and would welcome this kind of system – what about you? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.


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