Using Tablets and Smartphones in Dental Clinics
The mobile communications revolution has finally hit the medical field because more and more doctors and dentists are using these tablets and smartphones than ever before in their clinics and throughout their practices. Doctors, clinicians, dentists, and medical staff are finding just how useful these tablets and smartphones can be to research information on drugs and their interactions with other drugs the patients are on, as well as clinical trial information and new techniques or procedures. The tablets and smartphones are making offices more efficient saving the staff time and patients headache. In addition, a major bonus is found on educating patients.
Benefits of Tablets
There are an increasing number of benefits from the use of tablets in the medical field, for example:
- Increases efficiency – Instead of having to write on a paper chart and then go back to the nurse’s desk to type it into the patient record on the computer, physicians and clinical staff can actually write on the tablet itself. The written material is converted to text where it can be downloaded to the patient electronic record.
- Immediate access to patient records – Clinicians and physicians no longer need to take a large cart with multiple patient records. They can now take one tablet from patient room to patient room, access the electronic patient record and be immediately updated on the patient’s condition, test results, or other pertinent information regarding the patient.
- Instant access to drug information – Clinicians and physicians have immediate access to research drugs (and drug interactions) for their patients, and no longer need to go to outdated reference books to look them up.
- Instant access to test results – numerous medical imaging products allows physicians immediate access to EKGs, EEGs, radiology reports, and other reports and test results regarding the patient. No longer do they have to wait days, or even hours to get the latest results for the patients.
Although patient privacy issues are certainly a concern, these tablets are certain to become of greater and greater use in the medical fields.
Benefits of Smartphones
A variety of medical facilities and doctor’s offices are finding that smartphones are becoming more beneficial in the medical arena than ever thought. Particularly in teleradiology applications, where physicians can evaluate the imaging from a variety of devices – including X-rays, CT, and MRI images – to expand the radiology department from just the confines of the hospital to remote regions where rural physician can also have immediate access to images and reports. Additional benefits of smartphones includes:
- Increased communications – Physicians and clinical staff now have a far more efficient method of communications regarding patient care. Instead of paging residents, interns, or doctors, the staff can now call or text them, which increases response time for critical patient care.
- Immediate access to vital patient information – Physicians and nurses have immediate access to the latest clinical information regarding the patient, including lab reports, radiology reports, diagnostic results, and they can access the latest information on the status of the patient.
- Instant physician orders – The physician now can instantly provide orders to the nursing or clinical staff by calling or texting on a smartphone instead of writing the instructions (and of course everyone knows how difficult most physician’s handwriting is to read) on a note pad – or even worse losing the note or having it refer to the wrong patient.
Certainly the main concern is patient privacy. HIPAA requires complete privacy in patient records and there is certainly an increased degree of apprehension of patient information being transmitted over the smartphones or tables and over the internet due to the advent of hackers accessing the patient information. There are secure applications that can be used to help detect and prevent these unwanted intrusions into patient information that will certainly increase as more physicians begin to use the tablets and smartphones.
The other concern physicians have are the frequency of call that they receive regarding patients because they can be disruptive when they are caring for other patients. It also takes additional time for the physician to have to check voice mail frequently between patient rounds. There are many items still under consideration when considering using a tablet or a smartphone.
Tablets and smartphone provide a significant increase in the communications throughout the hospital to physician’s clinics and to rural offices. The increased flow of information that is up-to-date and accurate has a direct benefit to providing enhanced patient care.