The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing hospitals to adapt at a rapid pace to protect patients and healthcare workers alike. A new report from Wired today explores how hospitals across the United States are using iPads to help nurses check in on patients and much more.
The report highlights work being done at Massachusetts General Hospital. Patients in the hospital’s isolation wards are in rooms with iPads mounted to IV poles. “The iPads include software that makes them virtual extensions of Mass General’s 2,000 nurses,” Paris Martineau writes for Wired. “Nurses can use the devices to check on and communicate with patients without donning masks, gloves, and other precious protective gear, and risk exposing themselves to the virus.”
In fact, since deploying this system, use of personal protective equipment has “fallen by half,” according to Massachusetts General Hospital. Using an app, nurses can see a full list of patients and simply tap the “Call” button to get a live look at the patient’s room.
Several other hospitals have also started deploying similar systems, the report explains. The Harris Health System in Houston is using iPads to provide access to interpreters, pharmacists, and many other resources:
Harris Health now uses the tablets to provide on-demand access to interpreters for non-native English-speaking patients, patient consultations with pharmacists and dietitians, and video chats with patients’ family and loved ones. On Wednesday, the hospital network deployed a new system designed to streamline end-of-life care and ensure that the families of patients in critical condition can be quickly contacted and brought to the patient’s bedside virtually to be with them in their final moments.
Elsewhere, SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn is implementing iPads and smartphones to allow isolated patients to connect with their loved ones. Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco started by using iPads for communication, but has since widely expanded usage for other tasks as well.
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