by Natasha Burgert, MD
I love experimenting with different ways to use technology within my pediatric practice. The iPad has been an amazing device to adapt and use with my families.
Here are 5 different ways I use the iPad with my patients at the point-of-care.
- Referring. I have entered my favorite subspecialty providers into Contacts; including their name, address, phone number, and website URL. I list providers by specialty with “pediatric” preceding each listing in order for the contacts to be close to each other. If a referral is needed, I ask the family if I may send them an email with the information. For those who agree, I select the contact information, copy, and paste it into the body of a blank email. I send the email from an account specifically designated for this use – all before I leave the exam room.
- Sharing. I draw, doodle, and make lists when I talk to families. I now use a basic whiteboard app and a stylus to create digitally what I previously created with pen. And, instead of leaving my doodle in the chart, I can easily email my finished “masterpiece” to a parent’s inbox. Sharing in this way allows easier discussion with family members who may have not been at the appointment.
- Showing. Our practice website has interactive features, symptom guides, and social media links. I dramatically increase patient involvement with our site by providing simple instruction and direction with the website in my lap.
- Developmental “testing.” I have downloaded numerous apps for toddlers, preschoolers, and older kids in order to interactively assess developmental skills. For example, can a 1-year-old point at this picture with one finger? Can a 3-year-old match colors and shapes? Can a 5-year-old write her name on the whiteboard? Can a 7-year-old duplicate a mathematical pattern? The intuitive nature of the iPad allows interaction to happen with minimal instruction, and can occur while I am addressing parent questions and concerns.
- Distracting. The iPad’s novelty and magnetism can slow down even the most feisty 3-year-old. I can’t count the number of tympanic membranes I have been able to clearly examine when a child has been engaged with a game or e-book. I ask the parent to sit the child on their lap and engage the child with a simple activity. Parents can keep two hands on the iPad, while I can quickly get the exam completed.
I do not have any vested interest in Apple, or any apps mentioned in this post.
Natasha Burgert is a pediatrician who blogs at KC Kids Doc.