IPhone, Android Telehealth for Health Professionals (Part 4)
Telehealth applications are not just telehealth based any more. The same techniques that have helped the powerful computer/mobile phone hybrids like iphone and Android turn telehealth on its head in the past few months, are now starting to turn back in upon themselves, and affect in a positive way, how healthcare provision inside the hospital is carried out.
Usability studies are also starting to surface, much more quickly than anticipated, again showing the sheer swiftness that this new industry is moving at.
Deep Pocket Series
Deep Pocket Series, which is a Texan firm with a rather ironic name, is a business run by a Doctor. Specifically, Dr. Harvey Castro, an Emergency Medicine physician in Dallas. His firm has released a program designed for the iPhone, but not necessarilly designed for telemedicine.
It is for paramedics and on-site physicinas yes. However, it is also for nurses and anesthesiologists. Using the patient's statistics, and condition, it that calculates doses and rates for drip medication, removing guesswork from that part of the equation.
The application contains twenty-five of the most common IV medications doses and multiple concentrations for the commonly used medications. It also contains a large range of weights, and converts temperature and weight from imperial to metric and vice versa.
The hope is it will reinforce clinical judgement, and act as a safeguard, effectively double-checking the professional's first choice, especially if there is some doubt. As an added step, as a phone, it can connect to the internet to access the latest published news for a given medication, in case any controversy should arise.
Human Factors Evaluation of PDAs and Smartphones
The Healthcare Human Factors Group, a Canadian research organisation has begun conducting usability trials on medical phone usage in and outside of hospitals. Their first published study looks at five different such devices including the iPhone, in a range of clinical uses.
Looking for the intuitiveness of the interface for non IT-trained medical professionals, mostly nurses, and the practicality of using the devices in a sterile environment.
They discovered the following salient points:
# Nurses expect lightweight devices with physical keyboards, advanced rendering capabilities, intuitive menu structure and data access speeds that are comparable to desktop applications
# Devices need to be portable and compact; ideally weigh less than 180g
# Larger screen sizes are preferred, so long as page rendering is advanced
# System speed perception was also an important indicator of device acceptance; in addition, Wi-Fi compatible devices are recommended
# Be mindful of the types of applications and tasks the nurses will be using most; if text entry is required for the majority of tasks, a device with a physical keyboard is recommended
# From an infection prevention and control standpoint, devices that can easily be used with a protective cover that can be easily wiped with a disinfectant are recommended. Those devices with the fewest buttons, connectors, and crevices that could trap microbes are considered best.
A flipping of the trend from out of hospitals to ubiquitous health availability, to using telehealth devices inside of hospitals for the same benefits was expected, but not this early into the technology's uptake. It remains to be seen how well the Deep Pocket application fares.
Following the trends 2008-2009 in developing healthcare applications, diagnosis, analysis and healthcare provision based on mobile phones, their connectivity and computing power.