A dream: iPad for better, more efficient healthcare

Over a cup of coffee on this snowy Tuesday after Christmas, I sit here and wonder what if…

I get to the hospital a few minutes late due to the car wreck on the interstate. Run by my locker in the break room and grab my iPad that is finished charging from my shift yesterday. My tardiness has never more appreciative of the tool’s ‘instant on’ feature. My nurses Dashboard is up for my shift and I can see that I have my four patients assigned, same as yesterday. (Two heart failure patients ages 45 and 60, two monitored observation patients ages 65 and 70). As I make my way down the hall to the nurses station to wave at my coworkers, I get a notification on my iPad:

“This is Mr. J in room 36-2. I would love some ice when you get a chance.”

A quick text later, “No problem, passing the nourishment room now, is there anything else I can get you while I’m in here?”

Notification: “Actually, an apple juice would be great!”

Saving two trips back and forth, I grab a cup of ice and apple juice and drop it off with Mr. J promising my return with his medications in about an hour.

Rounding the corner to the nurses station, I get an emergency alarm on my iPad and can hear if alarming faintly around the corner. My heart failure patient in room 37-1 had a change in heart rhythm. I pull up his strips on the EKG app from last night as I take a look at the monitor in the nurses station. OK, last night he was running sinus rhythm with a rate of 65, now he is sinus bradycardia with a rhythm of 55. A quick glance behind me to the night nurse and with a shake of her head she said, “He didn’t sleep at all last night, and finally got to sleep. He asymptomatic and his blood pressure is stable.” Nevertheless, I appreciated the instant notification.

After report, I go to meet my next patient. Realizing he is Spanish-speaking only, I pull up my Medical Spanish (with audio) app. With my basic knowledge of Spanish I introduce myself to the patient and ask if he has any problems I need to know about. With a “no”, I proceed to assess him. I want to ask if he had any palpitations. For some reason, they don’t teach you “palpitations” in college Spanish classes. In the Cardiovascular tab of the app, I quickly find “Have you had any palpitations?” and hit play. Although the patient has been here for two weeks and knows the technology we use, a faint smile still protrudes when he hears the mans voice from the app. Very appreciative of the ability to communicate and assess him thoroughly, he thanks me and waves as I exit the room.

Next task: check labs. Pull them up for each individual patient in the Hospitals lab app. All the same the past few days, I see, except for Mr. J. His BNP went up from yesterday. Click the txt feature next to his MD’s name on my Nursing Dashboard. “Dr. M, this is SarahBeth, Mr. J’s RN for the day. Did you catch his BNP this am? It is up since yesterday. Any new orders at this time?”

Notification: “Thanks, SarahBeth. Yes, I did see the value. I’ll be by in 30 minutes to evaluate the patient. Any other changes?”

Text: “Not at this time. Will watch the Orders app for new orders you may input in 45 minutes.”


Flash back to my cup of coffee a few days after Christmas 2010. I can’t wait for the day when 30 minutes into my shift I’ve met my patients, spoken Spanish, quickly communicated with a MD regarding lab values, avoided a telemetry emergency, AND even had time to drink my required coffee for the morning.


Is it only just a dream?


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