Value of the iPad in medical care?

iPad in ophthalmology

Below I have copied my comments and made some corrections to what I posted on 29May2010 at CanadianEMR.ca iPad Where is the Value about how I have been using the iPad so far. I have taken the liberty of adding some helpful links to the apps that I referred to in my comments that I made at CanadianEMR. I thought it might be of interest to readers of my blog so am also posting it here. Please check http://canadianemr.ca too as they always have great articles in this field.

I have been fortunate to be using an iPad for the past few weeks, having bought one in the States to stay ahead of the curve. I agree that it will have some great medical uses though this is still in its early phases.

For starters, the EMR that I use, Optimed Software’s Accuro, has a mobile version. This has been very good on an iPhone and makes great use of the increased screen real estate of the iPad. From what I understand, the company is also hard at work creating an actual iPad app aside from its excellent java based mobile app.

iPad OCT Viewer

Optic imaging devices such as the Ocular Coherence Tomography units, will have iPad software. There is already an OCT Browser available in the app store created by the good people at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre Dept of Ophthalmology. Not a surprise as the team there developed the OCT when they were in Boston a decade or more ago. I am sure that others or even they will develop similar viewers for the scanning laser ophthalmoscope imaging devices such as the Heidelberg Retinal Tomogram.

Although I have yet to install it, there is an Air Display app that allows extending your computer’s screen onto the iPad. I just realized today that this means I can move the visual field or HRT viewer onto the iPad’s virtualized screen and hand that to the patient even if there is no native viewer app yet. I will try this next week.

iAnnotate PDF editor

The other uses of the iPad for me have just been much better access to news sources as news apps are getting iPad optimized. A favorite is Instapaper Pro which allows me to save any web page into my Instapaper account to view later at my leisure via the Instapaper app. Even the paid version though has a limit of only 250 articles that can be saved and they make it clear in their terms of service that it is only meant as a temporary means of storage of your information. Evernote can be used in a similar way and works well on the iPad and iAnnotate is an excellent PDF viewer that even allows you to add comments and highights to your PDF files that can be saved back in PDF format on your computer or be emailed from the iPad. With iAnnotate, Instapaper Pro and Evernote there are many excellent mobile educational tool for continuing professional development.

This is only the beginning of a very bright future for the iPad in medicine.