Should hospitals rent out iPods to patients?

By Brian Dolan
11:10 am

Windows Mobile-powered Wound Technology NetworkShould hospitals rent out iPod Touches along with their TV and phone rentals for patients? A recent post over at Silicon Alley Insider suggests they do. The publication's writer Nicholas Carlson just returned from six days in the hospital because of injuries he suffered from a hit-and-run accident in New York City. Carlson's post serves as a reminder that it's just a matter of time before we all become patients, but also highlights how personal the discussion around wireless healthcare really is:

"A resident I'd never seen before had woken me up in order to change my bandages. As had happened many times before, as I came out of a fevered, morphine-aided sleep, I was immediately very cold," Carlson writes. "I started shaking violently with the chills. The resident went ahead with changing my bandages anyway and my broken foot flopped around in a way other doctors haven't let it since. Here's why this was all so frustrating: The resident should have known I'd get the tremors so bad, coming out of my sleep like that. It'd been happening for days."

Carlson cites a statistic from Consumer Reports that might help point to a solution for "this lack of easy information flow" in hospitals:

"It is estimated that less than 2 percent of hospitals in the U.S. have comprehensive electronic records systems that make patient information readily available anywhere in the hospital," Consumer Reports stated. "That means that you'll have to be your own record keeper."

Carlson suggests that these rented iPods include an app that allows the patient to keep notes and these notes should be subsequently made available to nurses and doctors who should also be iPod-equipped. To view the patients' notes, the health workers should be able to punch in the patient's ID number. Carlson believes that doctor, nurse and patient should be able to specify who can view their notes -- "just the patient, just the doctor or just the doctor and nurse."

"I've had several nurses thank me for showing them a picture of the wound I keep on my iPhone before they re-do the bandages," Carlson wrote. "It helps them proceed carefully and plan ahead."

Mobihealthnews has written about mobile-powered remote wound management care, which makes use of mobile phone camera photos, in the past (the picture above is from an article we wrote about Microsoft's Windows Mobile-based remote wound care management network.)

Carlson's point is much broader and he believes it would lead to a "vastly improved healthcare system." Agree?


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