What the iPad Could Mean for Healthcare and other Businesses

The iPad brings with it the potential to reshape many other professions, industries and businesses including healthcare, print and video media, to the benefit of consumers in a profound and permanent way. As an Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon, I am usually busy with three types of activities in my practice: 1) seeing consults, 2) performing surgeries and 3) checking in with post-operative patients. Most of this is done in my office, however, sometimes these functions are performed in the hospital. The impact a tablet computer would have in my line of work, and in the healthcare field in general, with respect to patient safety and productivity, is significant. I’ll delineate a few thoughts on how this mobile computing platform can enhance our efficacy in patient care including in point-of-care and billing.

Imagine being able to spend more time with your patients and less time trying to track down their latest labs, CT scans or other important documentation/diagnostic test results.

What if the pertinent information was instantly accessible to you with the touch of your finger from the patient’s electronic, touch-enabled chart? It is happening already with the iPhone and will only get better with the iPad.

Like most doctors, I see things better if they are presented in a larger format than the 3.5” screen on the iPhone and iPod touch.

MacPractice, the practice management software that I use in my practice, already has announced that they plan to support Apple’s iPad and endow it with additional magical powers to increase my productivity and efficiency.

In my case, I will be able to access the patient’s chart electronically, which chart includes their current and past medical histories, medications and allergies.

It will give me instantaneous access to previous clinical notes and x-rays detailing what has been examined and treated during prior visits.

In addition it will allow me to access pertinent medication information or recent journal articles to help me make educated medical decisions for the patient.

It will further allow me to post new diagnostic or procedural codes relating to the patient’s current appointment.

Powerful dictation programs such as MacSpeech Dictate or Dragon Dictation will hopefully be optimized for iPad and the medical community in order to streamline our ability to create clinical notes for the patient’s electronic medical records.

All this while I continue to enjoy face to face engagement with my patients, and free my staff from increased time in front of the computer or locating paper charts and x-rays so they can spend more time with the patient tending to their concerns and allaying their fears.

Best of all, the structure is so minimalistic that it doesn’t get in between you and your patient like a laptop can and yet it’s large enough for me to actually legibly read and understand the information it presents.

This digital, touch sensitive, point of care interactivity with information and the web can be extrapolated to many different businesses and professions: lawyers, physicians, dentists, accountants, CEOs and sales managers to name only a few, can utilize this new form factor and powerful underlying hardware and software abilities to increase revenue and possibly even open up new opportunities that would not have been possible before.

What unique uses do you foresee using the iPad to help you in your daily life?

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