I liked this Research Letter because I believe that mobile tablets may provide a number of useful benefits to the inpatient medicine service. As reported by the authors, the tablets seemed to increase the efficiency of residents, thereby potentially allowing for more time with patients and at educational conferences. Besides saving time by eliminating the search for open computers in physician medical charting areas, tablets can encourage residents to do more of their order writing and charting while sitting at the patient bedside. Order writing and charting can be incorporated into the physician-patient encounter, as when a resident discusses with a patient what tests he or she will have that day as the tests are ordered. Although there can be no substitute for focused attention to patients, being by the bedside using a tablet seems to me better than being in a distant charting room. I also believe tablets may increase patient confidentiality by eliminating the possibility of common room computers being left signed on with patient data accessible when residents leave the room to respond to an inquiry or obtain a needed piece of information.
Katz MH. Mobile Tablets: Benefits to Residents and Patients. Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(5):438. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.17
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