Hospitals use iPads to improve patient experience

Deciding whether to provide iPads to your medical staff may be only half of your decision-making when it comes to the uber-popular devices. New efforts ongoing at hospitals around the U.S. are testing out patient reactions to the devices as a way to improve the patient's inpatient and post-hospital experience.

One big one is the Mayo Clinic, which now offers iPads loaded with Mayo content and apps as automated tour guides to cardiac patients, according to a HealthLeaders Media story on patient engagement. HLM profiled a YouTube video Mayo recently posted outlining the iPad program.

The clinic hands cardiac surgery patients an iPad to help them understand the surgical procedures, learn about their care plan, and get a detailed look at how their recovery might go. On the clinical side, patients can also report pain and exercise compliance, HLM reports. 

Both HLM and took a look at another patient-focused iPad app from GE that both seemed to find promising. There weren't any direct user experiences, but both indicated the app, serve an unmet need for patients--the ability to control and adjust their experience in the hopital.

With this particular app, patients can use the iPad to control lighting, music or videos (displayed on a screen on the ceiling) during an MRI, to alleviate claustraphobia and make the experience less stressful, GigaOm reports.

The hospital isn't allowing patients to use third-party apps--patients aren't playing Angry Birds during an imaging session just yet--but does allow them to stream personal music files, videos and more, HLM reports.

The HLM story also profiles two technologies we've told you about recently. One, from Henry Ford Hospital, provides iPads to post-surgery patients, to allow them to video-chat with physicians in a type of "tele-rounding." The other is mobile EHR app, DrChrono, which allows patients to check in at the hospital or doctor's office via iPad, check wait times, and other functions.

We also tracked down a patient entertainment option Stanford Hospital started testing in late 2010. The hospital's catheterization and angiography lab keeps five iPads on hand--loaded with games, videos and other entertainment options--to give patients things to do during the often hours-long lab sessions and recovery periods.

To learn more:
- read the HealthLeaders Media story
- check out the GigaOm review
- dig into this news from Stanford