iPad Makes the Rounds with Physicians

Health records go paperless

On staff at several area hospital emergency rooms, Dr. Saggar has used a number of different electronic health care records (EHR) applications, but was never happy with any of them — until he found iPad and the drchrono EHR app.

With other desktop EHR solutions, Dr. Saggar would meet with patients, then had to remember everything they said while he went to another room to type the information into a computer. With iPad, Dr. Saggar and his staff can bring the functionality of desktop computers into the exam room, and document treatment notes during the visit in real time.

Physicians can each create their own exam templates and enter data quickly by tapping checkboxes or selecting from menus, rather than having to write or type. “For physicians who don’t type well, the touchscreen makes information-gathering a lot simpler than trying to use a keypad,” says staff physician Dr. Carol Ann Smith, who also takes advantage of the speech-to-text feature in drchrono EHR to dictate notes.

Each patient gets more face time and the physicians collect more complete patient data. “The chance for information loss is almost zero,” says Dr. Saggar, “which improves time efficiency and chart accuracy.”

Better communication at the point of care

iPad is also enabling better patient education and understanding of treatments through visual aids. Physicians at Urgent Cares upload lab results and medical images from X-rays and EKGs to patient records within the drchrono EHR app. “We can show patients their fractures, and even send the images to the orthopedic surgeon,” says Dr. Smith. Apps like Muscle and Bone Anatomy 3D can also help patients understand the more complicated procedures by showing detailed anatomy illustrations. The form factor and screen resolution of iPad make it easy to share information back and forth. “With iPad,” Dr. Saggar says, “we can access a whole galaxy of software, much of which can help the patient understand what the problem is.”

Smooth operation

Every staff member on every shift at the two Urgent Cares facilities has access to an iPad. When patients arrive, they register with the receptionist, who enters intake information into drchrono EHR. Next, a nurse takes the patient to an exam room and uses iPad to add vital signs and the chief complaint to the record created by the receptionist. With all this information now available on iPad, the doctor can assess the patient’s condition quickly and efficiently. “With iPad in hand, I walk in to see patients,” explains Dr. Smith, “and am able to view, edit, and add to their patient record with just the touchscreen.”

After the consultation, the ER’s discharge staff can refer to the physician’s plan on iPad, help with follow-up appointments and referrals, and even email a discharge summary to the patient. When drugs need to be prescribed, Urgent Cares physicians use the eRx feature in drchrono EHR to prescribe drugs electronically — eliminating the hassle and potential inaccuracies of handwritten prescriptions. With a few taps on iPad, medications are selected and an order can be initiated directly with the patient’s pharmacy. “drchrono EHR on iPad is the most streamlined, user-friendly system I’ve used,” Dr. Smith says. “We can expedite care tremendously.”

By switching to electronic medical records on iPad, Dr. Saggar and his colleagues have eliminated the expense and hassle of paper, scanning, and copying. More important, the practice now has immediate access to patient documentation. “The main advantage of using electronic records on iPad is that it gives us complete access to everything that’s ever happened with each patient—in the current visit or previous ones,” says Dr. Saggar.

More personalized care

As the health care industry changes, Dr. Saggar believes that using the best technology available will help his medical practice stand out. iPad makes it easier to quickly get patients the care they need. “We receive reviews and letters from people who tell us that we gave them the best physician experience they’ve ever had,” he says. He credits iPad with helping his staff provide such efficient, first-class care.

“What I truly love about practicing medicine,” says Dr. Smith, “is making people feel better. iPad lets us spend more time with each patient and less time typing.”

Dr. Saggar agrees. “iPad lets us be human beings when we’re with patients,” he says, “instead of someone who comes in for just a few seconds and then walks out. For a medical practice, I think using iPad is a no-brainer.”

 

Original article can be found on Apple.

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