5 ways I use my iPad at pediatric point of care

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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