The iPad, though not yet ubiquitous, is becoming a more visible tool to increase productivity in the workplace. This could not be more true than in the healthcare setting, and one area in particular where the the iPad and its applications are being tested is the operating room (OR).
With its large screen, the iPad becomes an effective way to view images at the point-of-care. In the OR this can mean viewing anatomy programs during surgical procedures and reviewing a patient’s radiology images. Doctors also have about 2,000 healthcare-related apps to peruse in iTunes and an entire iBooks bookstore with ready reference information they might need in a pinch. A particular consideration for iPad use in the OR is the need for the iPad to be as sterile as possible. iMedicalApps tested an iPad in the sterile OR environment and their results showed that despite bagging the device and using latex gloves to manipulate the screen, the iPad worked just fine and remained sterile. Want to see that in action? Check out this video from an Japanese surgeon using the iPad in his OR.
Not everything about the iPad is perfect for the OR setting. In a news article by Eric Berger from the July 2010 Annals of Emergency Medicine, two of the drawbacks mentioned were lack of a swappable battery and the iPad’s relative fragility. These two flaws would effect any user of the device, but in the OR setting could be especially troublesome.
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