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The iPad and Your Health (Activism)

Today’s post on Health Technology is written by WEGO Health intern Tayla Holman (Welcome, Tayla!). Tayla’s post zeros-in on the tablet phenomenon (particularly, the iPad) and how the shiny magazine-sized pieces of technology are sliding their way into our healthcare. Whether you have your own iPad or, like me, still covet one – the use of tablets are changing healthcare in a way that will begin to influence all of us. Check out Tayla’s thoughts on how the iPad is changing the health sphere. As you read, keep in mind your own health community – have conversations about tablets or apps come up? (Don’t miss our Apps & Activism Webinar next Monday 6/27- to learn a lot more!) Have you begun to manage your health with apps or are you waiting for the tablet market to diversify a bit more? And, perhaps most importantly, how can we, as Health Activists, bring the iPad-for-health conversation back to our communities with all the excitement, healthy skepticism, and curiosity we bring to our leadership? –Amanda


The iPad and Your Health

by Tayla Holman

Once again, Apple has changed the game.

It’s clichéd, but true. With the release of the original iPad, and now the iPad 2, came an onslaught of new apps, many of which were in the medical category. Some are even free, or at least relatively cheap. There are dozens, if not more, websites dedicated to the best medical apps for the iPad, and many doctors are incorporating the tablet into their interactions with patients.

Let’s take a look at three ways the iPad is revolutionizing health care.

iPads are playing an increasingly large role in exam and surgery rooms:

Doctors are using iPads to show patients what they may look like after reconstructive surgery, and to show them radiographs of their injuries. The iPad also allows doctors to have all of their patients’ information in one place, instead of having to get a different chart every time they enter an exam room. Apparently it can even take X-rays through clothes! Cool, but kind of creepy.

Doctors have been quick to embrace the iPad and what it can do for them and their patients.  Dr. Richard Watson, an emergency room physician at MetroSouth said that the use of the iPad for electronic health records (EHR) spread “like wildfire.” The Loyola University Medical Center has even given iPads to its orthopedic residents. There’s no doubt that other hospitals will adopt this practice if they haven’t already.

Take control of your own health:

With the availability of medical record, drug interaction, and symptom checker apps, it is much easier to take control of your own health. While an app can’t – and shouldn’t – replace getting professional medical attention, it can be helpful for keeping track of medications, records, and lab reports. Having that information close at hand is just one step to being an informed and empowered health activist or patient.

There are so many different apps that you let you keep entire medical histories, not just for yourself, but for your family members as well.  With one of these apps, you never have to worry about if different medications have a negative interaction or what dosages to take. This is especially helpful for people who are caregivers or who take several medications and need to keep track of that information on a daily basis.

Keep in touch with your health community on the go:

Imagine sitting in a waiting room at your doctor’s office, and flipping through a magazine with an interesting article. The article gets you thinking, and you can’t wait to get home and write about it. But you remember – “I brought my iPad today!” – and get your blog post (on your WEGO Health page, of course) done before you’ve even had your temperature taken. You share the post on Twitter and Facebook and in the time it takes to get your weight and height checked, you’ve already received several comments.

Or perhaps you want to share news with one of your health communities once you’ve left an appointment. Some smart phones just aren’t convenient for heavy-duty writing, but the iPad is. Or you might be like Alicia Stanley and make it a “mission to find the best apps for patients and health activists.”

How else do you use an iPad for healthcare? Do you see it is a negative or positive that this technology is radically changing the medical field?

 

  • In my experience, the iPad is dissipating nurse/doctor/medstudent wars for limited computer stations making viewing labs, imaging reports and researching information so much easier. It also helps with continuity as my notes from previous days  (even previous visits) are easily stored and makes for quick recall of a patient’s hospital stay.

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