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iPads help hospital rethink the textbook -- and the magazine

University of Michigan Health System provides iPads to doctors-in-training, loans tablets to families at U-M Cardiovascular Center.

Theodore Sanford demonstrates how
Department of Anesthesiology residents
use the iPad to access reference
materials, monitor patients, and perform
administrative tasks. 

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The iPad is helping the University of Michigan Health System rethink the textbook – and the magazine – for its doctors and for patients’ families.

Rather than flip through a magazine, families in the surgical waiting areas at the U-M Cardiovascular Center can borrow an iPad to listen to music or play Sudoku, and some U-M medical residents are ditching textbooks for tablets.

“It’s been fascinating to watch the residents,” says Theodore Sanford, M.D., U-M professor of anesthesiology, who was inspired to issue iPads instead of textbooks to the doctors-in-training.

The devices are used by anesthesiology residents to access reference materials, monitor patients and perform administrative tasks such as room and surgical scheduling.

Apple has introduced a new iPad that’s faster and sharper than previous models, and the U-M is part of the wave of users who’ve made the devices so much a part of life.

When Adam Jenkins, M.D., an anesthesiology resident, is rushing to a code, the first thing he reaches for is his iPad.

“Using my iPad I can access Risk Watch which lets me look up the patient in distress on my way to the code and gain valuable information about him or her before I even arrive,” Jenkins says.

He is among the first group of residents to work in a paperless environment, with all essentials needed for education, patient care, and department functions, available at their fingertips through the iPad. The University arranged licensing agreements for the textbooks.

A donor’s generous gift allowed the U-M Cardiovascular Center to provide free use of iPads on loan through its Wellness Resource Center.

“It can be a challenge to pass the time during complex heart and vascular surgeries that can last several hours,” says Elizabeth Nolan, director of Patient Education Programs at the U-M Cardiovascular Center.

“Access to an iPad whether for education, entertainment or diversion is appreciated by families as well as patients.”

Deena Freeman, of Delray, Fla., and her husband donated five iPads to the Cardiovascular Center a year ago. They are aficionados of the tablets. She has the original version and he eventually got the iPad2 because, she says, “it was getting too hard to share.”

“I know how boring it can be lying there but to have an iPad means you can still be a part of the world and keep abreast of everything,” Freeman says.

She became connected with the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center after being referred to James Stanley, M.D., for vascular surgery. She’s doing well now and ready to give back.

“We plan to give more,” says Freeman. “Listening to music, reading emails, sending photos, reading without worrying about turning the pages. The iPad is amazing.”

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