"I have been using Apple devices for some time on a personal basis so I am very familiar with the technology and its capabilities," said Mattioda. "After hearing of paramedics using iPhones in the field, and seeing doctors use applications on PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants or palm top computers) to look up medication information, I thought that Cherokee Regional Medical Center could definitely benefit from this cutting edge computer technology. After researching the possibilities, I was confident that the iPads would be a good fit for our needs," she added.
The Apple iPad is device that uses applications, or programs, picked by the user. Applications are free or purchased from Apple or other internet stores. The iPad has unique programming in conjunction with a large touch screen face that makes it very user friendly. They are very portable devices (No larger than a note book and only about Ω inch thick.) that can be used anywhere at CRMC with existing applications.
Numerous medical applications are currently available from a variety of companies and many new applications are continually being developed. However, according to Mattioda, CRMC only uses applications from verified sources. In fact, many of the applications are from accredited software suppliers that the doctors and nurses at CRMC currently use.
For the time being Mattioda will be responsible for selecting the applications to be downloaded to the iPad devices used at CRMC. "I have been busy researching and downloading applications. It is amazing to me how many different types of applications are available. While many could be useful at some point, right now I am focusing primarily on applications that we could use on a regular basis across various departments," said Mattioda. Applications can include but are not limited to electronic medical encyclopedias, language translation, educational/ instructional tools, medical calculators and more.
The iPads have been in use at CRMC for few a weeks now and so far everything is going as planned. "At first, some people were a little hesitant because they were not familiar with the technology. After demonstrating some of the applications and letting them see the capabilities first hand, everyone seems to be quite impressed with their ease of use and how readily information is available," said Mattioda.
From an administrative standpoint there are many benefits as well. Application updates have the potential to save CRMC money by having the ability to download updates when available in lieu of purchasing books which can be quite expensive and outdate quickly. Also, CRMC will be able to take advantage of free applications to preview or sample new software which could save on unwanted purchases.
"All employees of Cherokee Regional Medical Center are encouraged to think out of the box. This is a perfect example of someone having the foresight to take the latest in personal technology and apply it in a beneficial manner within the field of health care," said John Comstock, CEO of CRMC. "Not only do the iPads have the potential to save us money in the long run, they could also help improve employee education and perhaps most importantly, increase efficiencies in the overall treatment process when utilizing the appropriate applications."
Mattioda acknowledges that this will be an ongoing process and is still in the beginning stages at CRMC, but she is very excited about the possibilities. "I can honestly envision an iPad or similar technology being used in virtually every department someday at CRMC," said Mattioda. "With this abundance of information available at your fingertips, it is hard for me to believe that iPad technology would not become an integral piece in the future of health care everywhere."