iPad and EMR in Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine: Hot or Hype?

Disclosure: I am not a programming expert or an IT professional nor do I work for or consult with WoundExpert or Apple Inc.

I recently had the pleasure of launching a new Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system in-conjunction with the new Apple iPad for a wound care and hyperbaric center in Los Angeles, CA. My initial fear was that the EMR (which is web-based) would not be compatible with the operating system of the Apple’s iPad due to some system programming requirements that Apple’s OS does not recognize. Programs such as Flash for example are not compatible with the iPads operating system.

Prior to launching both systems I took a trip over to the Apple store and tried to access the EMR company’s website (WoundExpert) just to be sure that it was compatible. The second thing I did was call the EMR company and inquire whether or not anyone has used the iPad in-conjunction with WoundExpert. I wasn’t surprised when they told me that they were not sure because the iPad had just been launched earlier that same week. On my next call to WoundExpert I made sure I was at the Apple store and logged into the WoundExpert test site and tested all the functions of the EMR. The Aha moment was when i found out that all the functions worked perfectly and a decision was made on the spot. This may sound like an impulsive decision but I had been researching EMR and portable computers for a while now (3 years).

The problem most wound and hyperbaric centers face is usually a lack of space in the treatment rooms for a desktop computer station in addition to what some IT pros call a “COW” (Computer on wheels) or that thing the desktop computer is sitting on. The second problem most centers face is cost. My breakdown of equipment costs alone was enough for the hospital administration to raise both eyebrows and take my proposal seriously.

Here is what my breakdown for a more traditional system for 4 treatment rooms:

Unnamed desktop computer system w/ keyboard and mouse = $1250.00 x 4 = $5000.00

Computer table or “COW” Computer on wheels w/out computer = $750.00 – $1000.00 x 4 = $3000.00 – $4000.00

Running internet into every treatments room = $100.00 per room x 4 = $400.00

Cost of the EMR = Negligible because everyone is going to have to do it sooner or later

Total cost for 4 rooms = on the low end $8400.00 and the high end would be $9400.00

The breakdown for the iPad system was:

Apple iPads = $499.00 x 4 = $1996.00

Dedicated encrypted Wi-Fi = $200.00

Total cost for 4 rooms = $2196.00

Not having your back to the patients every time you are in the treatment room? “PRICELESS”

As you can see from the numbers above, there would be over 7K worth of savings by going full EMR with the Apple’s iPad in the treatment rooms. Obviously with some pros there have to be some cons.

Here are my list of cons:

1. We have not figured out how to print from the iPad just yet (but we will soon if we had a bluetooth printer). Currently, anything that needs to be printed will be printed (superbills, orders, and prescriptions) by the front office staff w/ their desktop computers.

2. We cannot load patients wound pictures to or from the Ipad (so we just use the computer at the nursing station or doctors dictation to load all patients wound photos into the EMR).

3. Physicians don’t like the iPad – they are secretly in love with it. This is a con because the physicians want to take the iPads home to “Explore” more of its features – too bad we lock the iPads up and have very strict procedures for checking in and checking out of the systems. And if one of the iPads go missing we track it via GPS (There is an APP for that as well).

For more on the use of iPads in wound care and hyperbaric medicine please look out for my extensive article in http://hyperbaricmagazine.com/coming soon!!!




3 thoughts on “iPad and EMR in Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine: Hot or Hype?

  1. We have just started trialing the iPad in our Wound Care and Hyperbaric Program. It is looking promising and hopefull will be able to be more efficient with our in patient referrals as well! I wish that the iPad had a camera like the iPhone and then we could just take AND attach the pictures right in the room. I also agree that the printing needs to get easier. Even with bluetooth all of the reviews I have read is that there are some problems with formatting of documents.

    • Excellent news!!! What EMR are you using if you don’t mind me asking? Also, I heard that Apple’s iPad OS4 oerating system will be able to allowing the printing of PDF and Microsoft documents. I can’t wait to see that.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s