PJCGAGNO’S MAR [15-08]:The Doctor and His ‘Ipad’

Index Title: PJCGAGNO’S MAR [15-08]
MAR Title: The Doctor and His ‘Ipad’
Period of Observation: Aug 2015
Tag: The role of mobile phone device applications in clinical practice
Category: Professional/Ethical-Reinforcement
I was at the out-patient department when a patient approached me. He asked if I could explain to him his KUB ultrasound findings because he does not understand. I asked him to hand me his ultrasound official result so I could see and review it. I then started to take his history. I came to find out that he is a case of nephrolithiasis, left (stones in the kidneys) and was asymptomatic at the time of the interview.
After verbally explaining what his condition was, patient still looked confused and said: “Doc, pasensya na po. ‘Di ko po masyado maintindihan. Pwede nyo po i-drawing para mas malinaw?” (Doc, I am still puzzled, do you mind if you can draw it so I could properly understand?) I then got a piece of paper and drew the anatomy of the renal and urinary tract system. I explained to him using my illustration regarding his condition. He easily understood it and said: “Salamat po Doc, mas naintindihan ko na po ng maayos.” (Thank you Doc, I understand it now.)
I then referred this patient to our urology consultant for definitive management. During the consult, my consultant brought out his “Ipad” (a tablet computer designed and marketed by Apple Inc.) and opened a medical application that has virtual images of the renal and urinary tract system. He started to explain the patient’s condition using this application, where images of renal stones can be placed in different parts of the urinary tract. He also described the proposed operation using the same application. Patient was amazed, and satisfied with the explanation. He thanked me and my consultant. He was then scheduled for the contemplated operation.
(Physical, Psychosocial, Professional/Ethical)
(Stimulus, Discovery, Reinforcement)
Being inevitable part of our lives, Iphones and Ipads, or mobile devices in general, are more than just access to our facebook, instagram, and twitter accounts. These can also be used for our patients.
The use of mobile devices and tablets by health care professionals has transformed many aspects of clinical practice. These have provided medical applications or ‘apps’ to assist physicians with many important tasks, such as: (1) access to information and references; (2) aid in patient’s education; (3) enhance communications and consulting; (4) and assistance in clinical decision-making1. In short, these devices can be used for convenience, enhanced productivity, and better healthcare delivery.
 As such, being a health care provider, we have the responsibility to explain to our patients their condition. However, there are inevitable situations where we ran out of our vernacular language to translate some medical terms leaving them still puzzled and confused. But with the help of these applications, there are virtual images of the body systems where they can describe visually what is happening inside. There are some added features where the actual surgical procedure can be virtually done. Visual aids are better means of elucidating our patients.
Not only for our patients, but these can be used to improve our clinical practice as well. There are available applications such as drug reference guides, medical calculators, updated clinical practice guidelines and other decision support aids, textbooks, and literature search portals, which are easily accessible.
Despite the benefits and convenience of mobile devices, such are not pre-requisites of being a ‘good’ doctor. In this age we are privilege to have these but the inherent drive to learn and improve and being resourceful for our patients are still the essentials.
1 Divali P, Camosso-Stefinovic J, Baker R. Use of personal digital assistants in clinical decision making by health care professionals: a systematic review. Health Informatics J. 2013;19(1):16–28. [PubMed]
ROJoson’s Notes (15nov23):
Use Information Technology and information gadgets to the maximum when available and affordable.
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