A medical centre in Cumbria has invested in an iPad for each of its GPs and plans to give them access to its patient records via the devices.
St Paul’s Medical Centre in Carlisle has bought each of its 11 GPs iPads and has been working with MedHand to transfer written text books into electronic formats so they can be read on them.
GP-lead for the project, Dr Alan Edwards, said most GPs refer to the textbooks on a daily basis, and find it more convenient to use them on the Apple devices.
Access to the books and other decision-making tools does not require an internet connection, so the GPs can access them easily when they are making house calls.
MedHand’s technology also incorporates a cross-referencing search function, so a clinician can search for a single term - such as shingles - and see a pool of results from different text books.
The surgery has so far spent about £6,000 on the new mobile technology, including a two-year license for the MedHand reference tools.
Dr Edwards said the decision to take a “leap of faith” and invest in the technology was made to try and give GPs all the information they need, when they need it.
“That includes not just the patient records, but all of the decision support stuff... because if it isn’t easy to access people don’t do it, they don’t look at it.”
GPs had responded well to the new technology, he added, and patients have been curious about the new tools.
“Many of them haven’t seen an iPad before, so they’re asking us ‘what else can it do?’”
He added that the key to making sure that patients were not concerned about their doctor tapping away on a piece of technology was to involve them and show them what they were doing with the iPad.
GPs in Carlisle are being given the ability to share patient records with out-of-hours services and A&E clinicians using the Medical Interoperability Gateway (MIG) developed by Healthcare Gateway, a joint venture between EMIS and INPS.
Dr Edwards said those involved in the MIG project are working to enable access to patient records via mobile devices including the iPads, but the work is still in the development stage.
© 2011 EHealth Media.
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