A workplace with constantly mobile workers must have technology capable of keeping pace.
Naturally, clinicians have been drawn to tablets (devices, not pills) as they’ve evolved from calculator-like machines to incredibly useful mobile computers.
Especially in large clinics – in the field or in hospitals – health care professionals are on the move, making rounds with technology in the palm of their hands. In fact, a survey by Texas Health Resources, a network of 25 hospitals, found that 50 percent of physicians have tablets and 80 percent have smartphones.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) started a program that lends iPads to caregivers of veterans. The program has a dual purpose: to give caregivers tools to help them keep track of prescriptions, track progress and find resources; and to help the VA understand characteristics of caregivers, particularly those serving seriously injured veterans.
Beyond mobility, there are a number of unique features that make tablets appealing for health care professionals?
- Apps designed for doctors: From medical reference apps like Medscape to patient information on the cloud through Citrix, apps for health care providers are abundant. These allow doctors to reference conditions on-the-spot and carry information in one convenient place instead of leafing through papers or lengthy volumes.
- Personalization: Individual tablets for clinicians can be tailored to the health care provider’s needs. While some doctors use tablets to look up outside information, others need to access patient information quickly.
- Camera and data storage: Easy access to information is invaluable, but the ability to store information matters just as much. A tablet computer is more than a reference device; with features to take notes and pictures, tablets enable users to save important data. Apple’s iPad was recently introduced in a smaller, more portable size and updates are coming soon.
The range of tablet options continues to grow. Just last month, Google released a new tablet, the Google Nexus 7. The new Nexus boasts several improvements over its last iteration, including its size and weight, which are market-competitive at a mere 7.8 x 4.5 inches and just over two-thirds of a pound. The tablet has both front and rear cameras and high pixel density.
With one third of Americans owning tablets, this technology isn’t going away anytime soon. It’s a market that affects health care, and we can only expect that the influence will keep growing.
How do you use tablet technology to improve your work?
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