Anesthesia Residents See Benefits of Tablet Devices

07 Dec

Technology is a wonderful thing. It creates all kinds of conveniences in our daily lives. When it can be integrated into such important aspects of our society such as the medical industry, it’s truly a marvel.

Last July, 100 anesthesiology residents and fellows at Mount Sinai School of Medicine  went from traditional textbooks to the use of Apple iPads. The idea was suggested by Adam Levine, MD, director of the anesthesiology residency training program at Mount Sinai. As he says, “it took exactly two seconds” to win the approval of the anesthesiology department chair.

While the department paid $700 per iPad, which included a protective cover and warranty, residents now are able to access electronic medical records and a library of e-textbooks, medical journals and guidelines at the point of care.

“This one device has multiple functions at every stage of the perioperative process, and it’s something residents can use both for their education and for patient care,” said Levine.

Here are some of the benefits they have reported:

– Anesthesiology resident Daniel Katz, MD says he uses the iPad to not only read through textbooks and guidelines, but also as a reference tool in the operating room. He also said the iPad has helped him make more informed decisions at the patient’s bedside and that accessing electronic medical records at the point of care is an improvement over paper records, due in part to potentially missing information or bad handwriting.

– Dr. Levin reports better information flow in the hospital after iPads began to be used.

– Residents can conduct video conferences anywhere in the hospital.

– With an iPad or iPhone, faculty can look into an operating room remotely.

– The University of Chicago Medical Center has also distributed iPads to its residents. Dr. Bhakti Patel, a fellow in the Section of Pulmonary Critical Care, says being able to access medical records, radiology reports and images, and placing electronic orders from the patient’s bedside significantly increase the residents’ efficiency.

– Dr. Katz and his fellow residents are putting together a video library of anesthesia procedures, along with a procedure simulator designed for the unique attributes and features of the iPad.

The use of iPads or other tablets is a growing trend in the medical industry. According to C. Peter Waegemann, president of mHealth Initiative, which examines how technology is adopted in the health care industry, there are as many as 7,000 health care iPad applications with hundreds being released every month.