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Our Last "iPad-and-Hospital-Marketing" Article Ever (Maybe)

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

iPad xray imagesIt's been all of a couple months since we previously wrote about the many Ways iPads Are Changing Hospital Marketing and PR. Apple doesn't send us their official sales numbers, but reliable estimates have it that millions of iPad 2 tablets have been shipped during these last 90 days.

As we write this, by calendar year end, total sales are likely to hit 40 million units...plus or minus a few hundred thousand. (And, believe it or not, Apple isn't the only tablet manufacturer.)

Last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook proudly pointed to iPad's popularity in the US healthcare industry and in hospitals, "where medical professionals are using them to access patient records, to review medical images and to administer bedside care.

"Over 80 percent of the top hospitals in the US are now testing or piloting the iPad," according to Mr. Cook. He didn't say exactly how Apple arrived at that figure, but it's clear that tablet computers are immensely popular with healthcare providers, iPad or otherwise.

And because they are fast becoming ubiquitous in medicine and marketing, we think this will be our last roundup of ways the iPad is being used in physician and hospital marketing and healthcare delivery. Notwithstanding that the iPad is exceptionally useful and fun, further articles risk being as novel as "white bread applications for sandwich making."

That said, we continue to find highly inventive ways this device is changing how we work and how we communicate. Checkout this collection of ideas as fuel for your own applications:

The many uses of tablet computers-to reach, teach and serve patients-group together in these categories: EDUCATING, INFORMING, MONEYMAKING, SHARING HISTORY and HEALING, according to MedCityNews.com. Among the uses are:

  • Wireless Electronic Health Record access is productivity plus for physicians, patients and staff, with more timely chart entries, immediate communications and electronic prescriptions. (This may be one of the best applications, although electronic records are far from universally available.)
  • Individualized or customized marketing presentations are easier for hospital marketing, public relations and pharmaceutical situations. Here's an example from Medical Marketing & Media.
  • Physician and Executive Quick Reference with online medical information, textbooks and journal articles stored on the tablet or via Internet connection. Beyond the written word, doctors, medical students and others can access many forms of medical images, including some in 3D.
  • The University of Chicago Internal Medicine Residency program is a pioneer in iPad utilization and serves as a useful integration model for other hospitals to implement the iPad in their medical facility. The program has its own iPad Initiative website for reference.
  • The iPad is a camera capable of on-the-spot still image and audio/video capture and sharing of timely material for marketing communications and public relations, as well as healthcare delivery. From doctor interviews to medical images, the iPad streamlines creation and delivery.
  • Calendars, agendas and notes are not only always available, but can be made to interact with the schedules of colleagues, facilities or departments. Further, schedules can be revised on the fly-individually or collectively-in near real time.
  • Interactive patient care, education and follow-up are far more specific and useful than a simple brochure or generic instructions. The iPad is being used as a portable teaching tool in support of care and therapy for many treatment situations such as post-surgical follow-up, cardiac and cancer conditions,autism and many others.
  • Hospital-based rehabilitation, therapies and outpatient services are documented by the folks at Apple, such as this detailed case study example.And additionally, in this example about Memorial Hermann Healthcare Systemand iPhone (and now iPad) applications.
  • Leveraging FaceTime and two-way video communications between doctors and professional colleagues, and in some situations, between physicians and remotely located patients, all in real time.
  • Similarly, using video chat between patients and family, including bringing father and mother together in the neo-natal suite, even if the dad is on active duty with the military.
  • Reporting Marketing Effectiveness by connecting to metrics, quality assurance measures and financial and other data, with the added ability to see and share (with colleagues, managers, administrators) current information in near real-time.

If you know of an iPad or computer tablet application in medical marketing, hospital operations, point of care or pharma/device sales that we haven't included in this or previous articles, please let us know.

You may recall the unfortunate words of Charles Duell, Commissioner, US Patent Office, who may (or may not) have said in 1899: "Everything that can be invented has been invented." We'll continue to look for original and break-though uses, so we can't promise that this is our last article on the topic.

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