Walter Mencken 6:15 p.m., Feb. 28
UCSD Physicians Slow to Adopt iPads, Report Says
According to a report on the website of Kaiser Health News, less than ten percent of UC San Diego Health System physicians are using iPads.
The device has been hailed by some as a breakthrough in patient care, offering everything from quick records access to virtually instant diagnostics.
But the report notes that bottlenecks in UCSD's information systems have hindered deployment.
"Right now, their electronic record system has a read-only app for the iPad, meaning it can’t be used for entering all new information," the story says.
"To get around the problem, doctors log on through another program called Citrix. But because the product is built on a Windows platform and meant for a desktop, it can be clunky on an iPad and difficult to navigate."
And the technical problems don't end there.
"Spotty wireless at the hospital also means doctors are logged off frequently as they move about the hospital," according to the dispatch. "In addition, the iPad doesn't fit in the pocket of a standard white lab coat."
The tablet device also provides unwanted temptation.
Complains physician assistant Kate Franko: "It's hard when you have an iPad in your hands, sometimes there are moments when you want to check your email and possibly update your Facebook, and it does take willpower to not be distracted and to focus on patient care."
She reportedly took the Facebook off her tablet and hides her email to keep focused on the job at hand.
Chief of medical information Dr. Joshua Lee is also not a big fan.
"He occasionally carries his iPad in the hospital but says it usually isn’t worth it. The iPad is difficult to type on, he complains, and his 'fat fingers' struggle to navigate the screen.
"He finds the desktop or laptop computers in the hospital far more convenient.
"'Are you ever more than four feet away from a computer in the hospital? Nope,' he says. 'So how is the tablet useful?'"
"He also worries that the new devices have not been tested as thoroughly as older technology, like desktop computers, especially when it comes to patient privacy.
"'It reminds us that with all this new technology, is it really better or just newer? Is it more safe or less safe?'"
"While he waits for the results of a pilot in the hospital, testing whether the iPad makes doctors more efficient, he’s proceeding with caution, allowing doctors in the hospital to adopt the iPad if they want, but also encouraging them to stick with older technology if they prefer."
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