As tablet computers are becoming less expensive, smarter, more durable and more portable, they are frequently being integrated into the workflows of a variety of healthcare professionals. A recent study reported that 60 percent of physicians currently own an iPad, a number that has almost doubled since 2011. Most experts agree that usage will only increase, and these convenient devices will be a standard tool for the healthcare professionals of the future. These are the most significant benefits of tablet usage as reported by users, administrators and patients:
Tablet usage improves efficiency and productivity at the point of care and throughout the entire healthcare infrastructure. That lowers costs significantly by eliminating common sources of waste.
By relying on automated forms, workflows and processes, healthcare providers with tablets are better able to make meaningful use of healthcare information and comply with regulations.
Doctors and nurses can now capture information and activities in real time, meaning they don’t have to remember things for later and risk forgetting something that could compromise the quality of care.
Tablets are more functional than smartphones, and more convenient than traditional PCs, effectively creating the first truly portable computer. Their size and weight make them easy to take into almost any healthcare setting.
Healthcare providers who have the benefits of a tablet at their disposal are better equipped to develop innovative new treatments, practices and administrative strategies.
Unlike other technologies, tablet apps are designed to be easy to use, quick to learn, and functionally streamlined. That makes the adoption of tablets and promotion of their use an easy process to manage. This has also lead health IT developers to begin building software specifically designed for tablets, rapidly creating a larger list of potential functions.
Tablets easily facilitate video communication, bridging the gap between physically disconnected healthcare providers whose collaboration could improve outcomes.
To understand how these benefits work in practice, consider the example of Sutter Care at Home, an affiliate of Sacramento-based Sutter Health. In 2012, it adopted seven-inch tablets equipped with 4G mobile broadband access. The efficiency of care coordination immediately improved, and the cost of medical supplies declined by 20 percent per visit thanks to a standardized formulary for medical supplies. And though it is harder to measure empirically, the quality of patient care and outcomes improved in exciting ways. Tablet usage affected every aspect of the company’s care model, and the results have been overwhelmingly positive.
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