iPad helps doctors connect with patients

by | Jun 5, 2012

From WZZM13

DETROIT (WZZM) – When you think of crucial medical equipment that every doctor needs what comes to mind?

A stethoscope? The surgical equipment? Definitely a white coat. But an iPad?

Staying connected with patients has been proven to help promote a more productive recovery. But the fact is the number of doctors is dwindling and that personal patient-doctor connection is fading with it.

“I work at two different hospitals, so I’ll operate on one patient at the main campus on Wednesday and then the next day I’m out at West Bloomfield seeing patients, so I wasn’t physically there to see them,” says Dr. Craig Rogers, urologist-oncologist at Henry Ford Hospital.

Dr. Rogers became frustrated with the lack of time he was able to give his patients. He knew the only way to solve the problem was if he could be in two places at the same time. Enter the iPad and Facetime application.

“They get the confidence of knowing that the doctor is right there and is talking to me and I can see them,” says Rogers. “And it helps me too just little subtle nuances that I can’t get over the phone like is the patient wincing or grimacing or are they breathing a little heavy something you can really only grasp by seeing them.”

Dr. Rogers can spend an hour doing rounds on patients he operated on the day before while at another hospital, where he’ll be performing surgeries in just a few hours. He’s assisted by his internist, who literally walks the iPad from room to room.

Dr. Roger’s only been using iPad’s Facetime technology for a few months, but he already knows this new tool will be added to his necessary list of medical supplies.

“You can get a better idea that they are understanding what you’re saying,” he says. “Are they nodding while you’re talking to them and are they getting what the plan is?”

The patients agree.

“He’s the one who performed the surgery,” says Mark Yokom. “He’s going to go through everything that he did yesterday so it’s very informative.”

Research has shows that patients like Yokom would rather talk face-to-face with the surgeon who performed their procedure than a doctor they don’t know.

“It’s the wave of the future and it’s incredible what you can do now with just a simple iPad,” says Rogers.

But this isn’t the first Dr. Rogers has used new forms of communication. He’s also tweeted from surgery, using it as a tool to educated other surgeons on a new procedure.

“If you can raise awareness through whatever media possible, I think that’s a good thing,” he says.

And it’s possible it could go even further. Imagine being able to follow along during a surgery with updates — instead of waiting for hours for information on how your loved one is doing. It could soon be the way hospitals communicate.

“There is so much more we could do we’re just scratching the surface on what we can do with this,” says Dr. Rogers.

For Dr. Rogers, anything that keeps him more connected with all of his patients is the wave of the future — and it just might be. The latest study out of Manhattan Research found that 30% of doctors are now using iPads to communicate with their patients.

We checked with our local hospitals here in West Michigan. While there aren’t any doctors using iPads as a way to round with their patients, some are using them to keep up with patients electronic medical records.

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