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How Hospitals can Drain Out Real Benefits of Tablets and Mobile Apps

Anyone familiar with the hospital set-up or has been in a hospital for inpatient services would agree that most hospital's infrastructure is designed to cure the disease and not preventing it. Overall, the hospital experience for patients is very unreceptive one.

Anyone familiar with the hospital set-up or has been in a hospital for inpatient services would agree that most hospital's infrastructure is designed to cure the disease and not preventing it. Overall, the hospital experience for patients is very unreceptive one. They go to the hospital, doctors inform them about their ailments and start treatment and they are updated daily about how those treatments are affecting you. The question of what hospitals are doing to keep their patients engaged still remains untouched. Another question that needs answers is - what are hospitals doing to make sure that a patient doesn't come back with the same disease again. Most hospitals would reply that they conduct frequent seminars, webinars and conferences to awaken public about ways of staying healthy. They would add that they organize public awareness programs about the dangers of tobacco and alcohol. But again, my question is what they are doing to keep patients engaged.

I feel that they can empower patients by keeping expectations from them. Passive or inactive patients are also uninformed patients. Doctors often blame people for not taking their advice seriously and not taking care of their disease, but doctors should think what they are doing to help them in this.

In this context, the biggest change that hospitals can bring is removing televisions from the patient's room and giving iPads in their hands. The IT section can configure them to play TV content as well, after patients complete a small training session of learning few sets of activities. Let us study the example of a patient arriving at the hospital with complaints of hypertension. He looks to stay in the hospital for a few days for normalizing his blood pressure with proper medication, diet and bed rest. He will be prescribed a handful of medicines to gallop every day to control his exaggerating blood pressure, when he leaves for home. Doctors will instruct him about which medicine to take, when to take, how to take and how much to take and would expect him to remember until his next visit to the hospital.

With iPads in their hands, all a patient would need is to tap on an iPad app that would give him all this info and every time he looks to take his medicines. He can also get all the information about a particular medicine, its history, composition, why it is taken for, dosage, drug interaction, expiry date and lastly side effects. Furthermore, few gaming apps would quiz him about his medication with the motive of sharpening his memory about his drug dosage and timings.

Hospitals and healthcare institutions across the world are quickly adopting tablets in their healthcare services. Most of them are purchasing them to give it to their patients staying in the inpatient section and undergoing treatments. The freshest example is of Dubai Health Authority, who recently ordered more than 3000 Android based tablets for all their hospitals. However, here I would add that merely giving Hardware to the patients would not do any good. Hospitals will have to train them on how to use this smart device for their healthcare. Only then, they should expect their patients to use this new technology actively and avail health related benefits. Hospitals can then expect patients to be more responsible and take ownership of their health and its care. For this, they will have to give them the appropriate environment for using this technology and best they can do is replacing television sets with new iPads.


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