iPads raise Chicago hospital's efficiency

PHOTO: iPads raise Chicago hospital's efficiency

NEW YORK - When doctors-in-training at the University of Chicago were given iPad tablet-computers to use on their rounds, they found that using the devices helped them be more efficient at ordering tests and procedures for their patients.

The study of the university programme, published on Monday in the Archives Of Internal Medicine, tracked 115 residents who received devices purchased by the hospital. There was no funding reported from Apple, which produces the iPad.

Most residents who used the devices to access patient records and coordinate their care, said they cut about an hour per day off their workload.

Researchers also found that the internal-medicine trainees tended to put in orders for patient procedures earlier than before they got an iPad.

"What's happening to medicine now is that it's very datadriven... A lot of the data is being put into computers and the computers aren't at the (patient's) bedside," said Dr Bhakti Patel, the study's lead author from the University of Chicago. "A lot of people are feeling that they can't spend a lot of time at the bedside because they are shackled to the computer," she told Reuters Health.

After a well-received first try in giving iPads to a few residents, Dr Patel and her colleagues handed the devices out to all 115 of their internal-medicine doctors-in-training in late 2010.

The iPads allowed residents to see patients' electronic health records, to contact the hospital laboratory or other departments if they needed tests done and to show patients their own X-rays and other test results, as well as access to medical journals.