Alpha DevCon Engineering Roundtables

Adventures in Alpha Land

Episode 16: Ken Greenberg on Tablet Applications in Medicine

Ken Greenberg's company, Patient Innovations, lives up to its name by pushing on the leading edge of the demand for more efficiency in how we manage delivery of medicine. In this podcast Ken provides fascinating details about the ways tablet apps will play a role in the next generation of medical practice.
Show Notes

00:00 Adam: Intro to episode 16.

00:25 Ken: The initial concept for Patient Innovations was to develop software to improve the patient experience.

00:51 Ken: Our first product, OnTime Care, was developed in Alpha Anywhere, and is used to eliminate waiting in doctor's offices.

01:03 Adam: What about your other products?

01:13 Ken: Right now we are focused on OnTime Care. LovedOne Updates will notify loved ones with information about a patient, and MySafe Medical Records will provide enhancements to the electronic medical records field.

02:37 Adam: What are your plans for tablet apps?

02:50 Ken: Our major client wanted us to focus on web based apps for use in IE 8. We are now rewriting to use a responsive design for use with tablets.

04:24 Adam: So right now you are still in the test phase with tablets?

04:35 Ken: It's not done yet for tablets, but we are working towards that goal.

05:08 Adam: Are you just using the tablet as a browsing tool, or will you take advantage of tablet hardware features?

05:25 Ken: We have built the scheduling features, and our next step will be using the clipboard replacement model to do interactive forms and data capture.

06:39 Adam: Will this become something a doctor carries around during examinations?

06:55 Ken: Yes, but right now it is mainly used for scheduling and helping doctors manage their time.

08:57 Adam: What devices are they currently using?

09:14 Ken: Eventually we will let them use any device.

09:58 Adam: My experience in the medical field was as a hospital volunteer in high school, so I have experience with managing patient charts in an ER. I'm curious about the potential of tablets as a replacement for paper charts, and what types of resistance that will encounter.

11:17 Ken: There are lots of issues with that, including regulations and existing procedures. Paper charts may still have a role.

13:48 Ken: Right now doctor's offices use these flags on the door to help guide doctors to the next patient. The tablet can help modernize and improve this process. This will remove a lot of stress.

15:07 Adam: I've seen the effects of this stress on doctors. They are under a lot of pressure to move patients.

15:55 Ken: It's also receptionists who get a lot of pressure from patients waiting for doctors.

17:18 Adam: I've been more focused on data capture during an exam, but now I see the value of managing doctor's time better using these new apps and communicating better with patients.

17:49 Ken: We are focused on the patient's experience, and so are hospitals and large practices.

18:58 Ken: We are very excited about the potential of clipboard replacement with Alpha Anywhere.

19:35 Ken: We also want to use a tablet to capture information from the patient when they check in for visits.

21:09 Adam: Clipboard replacement is more than just replacing a paper form. It also means processing and reacting to data as the user enters it. It is a computing device.

22:00 Ken: Everything we do in OnTime Care is integrated with the central record keeping system, so responding to patient changes is part of the new features.

23:03 Adam: This can also solve the problem of a doctor's handwriting.

23:11 Ken: Yes, the doctor's annotations and voice dictation of orders can be captured.

24:17 Adam: Capturing of doctor's orders as audio recordings could save lives.

26:35 Ken: We have also learned that insurance companies are buying hospitals. They care a lot about these new apps.

27:31 Adam: I'm interested in the mental model doctors have of a chart representing the patient. How does this translate to a tablet?

29:08 Ken: I've thought about this too. There will be a lot of steps needed to make this transition.

31:17 Adam: Doctors are highly trained and their procedures are deeply ingrained. Better information is not the only answer.

32:11 Ken: We have to do this in phases. We may still print out patient data to conform to their existing procedures.

33:20 Adam: Paper charts aren't really that easy to use, especially searching.

33:40 Ken: How easy would this be if it was presented with the right design?

34:46 Adam: If an insurance company also owns the hospital, they may be able to enforce these changes.

35:10 Ken: I have learned that this may be wishful thinking. It may not be as easy as you say to get adoption. The medical staff has to see this as an advantage.

37:57 Adam: This is a good place to stop. Thank you.

38:14 Ken: We see great opportunity with Alpha's tablet product. Alpha's on the cutting edge.