This past July, 100 anesthesiology residents and fellows at Mount Sinai School of Medicine switched from paper to plastic. That is, the department’s administrators reallocated the textbook allowance given to their residents and fellows and purchased Apple iPads instead.
Adam Levine, MD, director of the anesthesiology residency training program at Mount Sinai, initially pitched the idea to the chair of the anesthesiology department. “It took exactly two seconds” to win administration approval for the concept, he said. The switch, which cost the department $700 per iPad, including a protective cover and additional warranty, means the department has “gone green.”
More importantly, Dr. Levine said, residents can now access electronic medical records and an entire library of e-textbooks, medical journals and guidelines at the point of care. “This one device has multiple functions at every stage of the perioperative process, and it’s something residents can use both for their education and for patient care,” he told Anesthesiology News.
Daniel Katz, MD, anesthesiology resident at Mount Sinai, said he uses the iPad to read through textbooks and guidelines during breaks and at lunch, and as a reference tool in the operating room. He also said the iPad has helped him make better-informed decisions at the patient’s bedside. “Accessing electronic medical records at the point of care is a step up from reading paper records, which can be unintelligible or have missing information,” he said.
The iPad also has enhanced information flow within the hospital, Dr. Levine said. For example, one resident volunteered to post video summaries of the department’s morning conferences on the hospital’s intranet that students can access through their iPads. Residents also can conduct a video conference with their attendings anywhere in the hospital, between iPads or from an iPad to an iPhone
The clinical and pedagogic applications of the device are limited only by the amount of time residents and faculty are willing to devote to creating new uses for it. One of my peers is developing an application that tracks resource usage, so that at the end of the day when there’s a real crunch, we can see in real time which rooms are available.