8 ways tablets are transforming healthcare

For the past two decades, healthcare has been on an exciting digital journey, including the start of electronic medical records, remote patient monitoring and the rapid emergence of telehealth options.

Image Credit: Advantech

In parallel to these advances, the healthcare world is rapidly moving and adapting – which demands mobile technology that can keep up with the times.

Medical-grade tablet computers are being used in standard practice across healthcare organizations and are sometimes used in surprising ways. Mobile connectivity provides new ways to communicate, educate and monitor the health status of patients.

Tablets are transforming healthcare in many ways, including:

1. Telehealth

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, telehealth has undergone extraordinary growth. Several programs have started to use tablets to improve patient access to technology. The Department of Veteran Affairs is an example of this as they aspire to provide high-need veterans with access to tablets.

These tablets will be pre-loaded with mobile health technology, such as remote monitoring and virtual visit capabilities. They can also be paired with peripheral devices such as weight scales and blood pressure monitors.

Healthcare organizations across the US are discovering the benefits of remote patient monitoring and using tablets as the core technology.

2. Patient registration

Registering patients using a clipboard and sheets of paper is fast becoming a thing of the past. Many independent clinics and healthcare organizations are eradicating paper records and instead choosing to use tablets for patient check-in.

The technology is easy to use, reduces the duplication of information and can be integrated with EMR systems. The tablet system also facilitates the easy renewal of HIPAA forms and consents, thus requiring considerably less administrative work than paper forms.

3. Patient rounds

When providers started to use computers to document, they quickly realized that sustaining a human connection while using the computer was a new skill. Tablets have made the interfacing of face-to-face patient contact and computer systems much more streamlined.

With state-of-the-art digital tablets, providers and nurses can simultaneously talk, document and share test results and education with the patient. A tablet is a handheld tool, not a thing to hide behind.

4. Patient entertainment system

Patient entertainment is also fast evolving beyond basic capabilities; an integrated tablet offers a lot more than the traditional TV on the wall did.

They offer social connectivity with family, the capacity to receive crucial information and tailored education relating to their conditions and medications, a distraction from pain and treatments and sometimes provides a sense of much-needed familiarity in a strange environment.

Phoenix Children’s Hospital boosted patient satisfaction successfully with centrally managed iPads – making hospital stays for children and their families easier in a myriad of ways. Adults also benefit from the additional connectivity and the added capacity to let the time pass while being entertained.

Several healthcare systems are discovering that the tablets deliver an improved patient experience and boost satisfaction levels relative to their stay. The technology can also take care of common activities like meal selections, making patient choices even more accessible.

5. Patient education

Patient education is never a straightforward procedure. When confronted with a new diagnosis, the sheer amount of information can be overwhelming.

Tablets loaded with patient education software offer an experience that can easily assess patient understanding and teach in various ways using videos, pictures and assessments at a comfortable pace for the patient.

For those using remote patient monitoring or home care services, education can be delivered as and when needed for new equipment, new medications and more advanced topics. Education can be delivered in small bite-size pieces, with topics covered in a way that encourages patient engagement in self-care.

There are many benefits of patient engagement, but the bottom line is that it improves outcomes; fewer hospital stays, fewer ER visits and longer, healthier lives.

6. Billing

Medical billing must be documented to be coded and is based on all of the care that takes place. Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) is one of the primary ways in which this occurs.

If providers have improved access to entering orders while on the go, making rounds or talking to nursing staff, then the accuracy of billing will increase.

As to be expected, tablet usage has moved to other areas of the hospital, including the lab and pharmacy. When employed in those settings, the capacity to improve accuracy in record-keeping and inventory also contributes to better billing accuracy.

Tablets can be combined with RFID scanners to facilitate precise monitoring of supplies and medications used.

7. Portable medical device monitoring systems

Typically, patients find themselves connected to monitoring machines that take up large amounts of space and are often noisy when being moved around. This becomes a thing of the past with tablets designed for medical use.

EKG monitoring, vital signs, sleep and apnea monitoring, etc. are being conducted using compact, portable tablet technology. Applications for both in-hospital and at-home care are easily accessible, making information for monitoring and diagnosis readily available.

8. Customized patient monitoring

Allowing elderly patients to stay in their homes for as long as possible while offering the appropriate levels of assistance and support is a challenge that many families face.

Pioneering new technologies that can deliver constant monitoring for falls, vital signs, medication adherence, glucose monitoring and verbal reminders and location notifications are now a reality.

Paring tablets with peripheral devices can offer peace of mind, improve health outcomes and, crucially, offer increased independence. Tablet PCs are fast becoming the standard in hospital and medical office care, but they are also becoming a window to the world for patient’s at-home.

As digital technology continues to develop in new ways, tablets will continue to be an essential tool in everyday use across the modern healthcare system.

About Advantech

With decades of proven experience and trusted by 23 of the top 30 medical device manufacturers, Advantech is a leading player in the global healthcare market. Advantech partners with leading medical equipment manufacturers and system integrators to transform healthcare and elevate patient-centered care. Advantech’s medical device safety certifications and FDA registration, paired with high-performance and customizable products, meets the healthcare industry’s demands for both turnkey solutions and comprehensive design and manufacturing services.

Global headquarters located in Taipei, Taiwan, North American headquarters in Irvine, California and design center in Cincinnati, Ohio, Advantech is a global market-leader in industrial PCs and medical grade PCs. Offering a high degree of customization to meet unique customer requirements with in-house design and manufacturing, along with the deliberate selection of component, processor, and chipset for product designs, Advantech products are designed and manufactured with the primary intent of longevity and availability.

Advantech has been ISO 13485 certified for medical devices since 2003; its North American Service Center located in Milpitas, CA is also a FDA Registered facility. Advantech’s medical product portfolio includes medical-grade PCs, medical displays, medical tablets, mobile workstation and telehealth carts and healthcare information terminals. Medically certified for patient safety (60601), fanless and sealed for infection control, Advantech’s purpose built products specific for healthcare use cases are configurable and customizable, built for both acute care and non-acute care healthcare facilities.

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Last updated: Sep 16, 2021 at 5:17 AM


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