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More Than Just A Pretty Face

Fans of the hit American TV series Grey’s Anatomy will recall an episode where interns of the hospital were live tweeting during a surgery. While some of the other doctors thought that this was odd and disliked the constant questioning, in true TV format Twitter saved the day when the patient needed to be transferred to a hospital with a certain device and a doctor at a nearby hospital who was reading the tweets was able to help.

However, integrating smart phone applications with medical practice is not fiction, but a fact that is helping to save lives all around the world. The staff at the famous Mount Sinai Hospital in Canada was frustrated with the knowledge that all of the patient information was being held on different systems and at the time it took to track down all of this. When the iPhone was released they saw the opportunity to create an app that would combine all of the different fact about the patient including their latest scans and blood work as well as up to the second read outs of their blood pressure and oxygen levels. Working with the Apple development team they created vitalhub, an app that looks through all of the different systems within the hospital and pulls the information together to display on the iPhone.

Doctors and nurses can also make updates to the information like the patient’s chart that is uploaded to the hub and can be accessed by other doctors- for example when a nurse gives a patient more medication he or she will put it on the chart on the hub where the doctor will see it when they go to examine the patient.

After the success of vitalhub the doctors and development team went on to tackle another problem- long wait times in the emergency room. With their new custom made app iTriage, nurses are able to triage patients more quickly and get their information right into the data base. Based on the answers to a series of medical questions the app will give a recommendation on the triage level although the nurse can over ride this if he/she feels that the patient is worse off or better off than what the app prescribed.

The doctors and nurses at the hospital can also use native iPhone apps like calendar, text messaging, and e-mail to make their day run more smoothly.

There are many other medical apps around that are available for everyone, including flash card apps that help doctors to explain medical terms to patients, to apps that retrieves and displays, PET, CT, and MRI images, and other patient monitoring devices. There are also many apps that work on the iPad. If you work in the medical field then you should look into getting these apps at your hospital or doctors office. The correct and timely display of information is vital to the patient’s health and wellbeing, and all of these apps work in combination to help you to get the best patient outcome.

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