Apple has made great strides in health in the last few years, and if it gets its way, there will be an iPad in the hands of every hospital patient.
It’s already started with a smattering of hospitals around the U.S., including Jacobs Medical Center at UC San Diego, MetroSouth Medical Center in Chicago and, about a year ago, at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.
Earlier this week, I went down to L.A. to take a tour of Cedars-Sinai‘s pilot program allowing patients direct access to their vitals, care team and educational tools through iPads.
Doctors are already adept at using mobile devices and many have been using iPads in their practices for a number of years now, but allowing patients’ access to their own information is still a novel idea in the medical world. Cedars has been somewhat ahead of the curve with the creation of its EHR software My CS-Link, which allows patients to look up their information online, including notes from their doctor.
However, 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.
Cedars uses Epic’s MyChart software to record vitals and other info on roughly 50 iPads in its heart failure unit, where patients often have to stay for an extended period of time. One patient, 32-year-old Awad Lsallum, traveled all the way from Saudi Arabia in hopes of receiving a new heart. To be honest, Lsallum did not seem that impressed with the device. He’d already been at Cedars for a total of 40 days and said he gave the iPad back after a while. But he did say it was “comforting” to have the iPad so he “knows what’s going on.”