Hospital's successful iPad rollout focuses on in-house and patient apps

The mushrooming iPad implementation at Ottawa Hospital has captured the attention of the entire healthcare industry, and with good reason: The now 3,000-device rollout is in full swing, and CIO Dale Potter has staked not only his reputation, but his job, on the technology's success.

Potter has committed to buying several thousand more iPads in 2012, saying that his "gut feeling" about the technology is strong. "I told our CEO he should fire me if this doesn't work," Potter tells TabTimes.

The TabTimes piece brings attention to several suggestions that CIOs in the U.S. should consider as they weigh mobile device issues for their facilities. In particular, CIOs would be wise to focus on:

Developing in-house apps: If your vendors haven't already started developing native iPad versions of your legacy systems, they aren't likely to any time soon. It's the reason Potter hired upwards of 70-plus app developers--to craft an iPad-ready version of his hospital's Oacis electronic health record system.

"To be fair to them, they have a three-year roadmap of product development they are working on with all their clients," Potter tells TabTimes. "They couldn't just drop that and turn on a dime."

Interestingly, Potter admits that he'll have to scale that development team back in the not-too-distant future, but isn't quite ready to downsize just yet. "I know we shouldn't be in the software design business, but there is such an appetite for it, I can't cut back on it yet," he says.

Creating patient-focused apps: One of Ottawa's successes is a pain management app that allows patients to visually represent the location of pain, and the intensity. Patients touch the part of the body that hurts on an image on the iPad, then choose a color from white to red to indicate the level of pain.

Investing in mobile device management: Administrative controls in the iPad simply aren't strong enough, and need the backup of an MDM system, Potter says.

Looking for third-party data input options: In the same way, data input for iPads is limited, so Potter is piloting Nuance's Dragon Mobile Medical Recorder module to allow physicians to dictate their documentation into the patient's record, he tells TabTimes.

To learn more:
- read the TabTimes article