Duke Replaces Patient Clipboards with Tablet Computers
Posted Nov 17 2009 10:02pm
I saw a tweet the other day from Duke Health that mentioned its move to provide cancer patients with tablet-style computers for entering health information in the waiting area. So when a patient checks-in to the cancer clinics at Duke, rather than receive the old clipboard with several paper questionnaires to fill out, they now get a wireless, tablet computer.
The computer screen provides prompts that guide the patient through a series of questions related to their health. After each question is answered, a new question appears and the patient’s answer to the prior question no longer appears on the screen. In addition to the ease of this process, it provides a new level of privacy for the patient when answering sensitive health questions. Their research has shown that the computers help patients say things they may not have otherwise volunteered. It even keeps answers private from family members sitting close by. The folks at Duke see this technology as a vital ingredient in providing whole-person care. For more information about this program, go to http://www.dukehealth.org/HealthLibrary/HealthArticles/computers_make_it_persona.
Here’s a quote I pulled from Amy Abernethy, MD, who directs the Duke Cancer Care Research Program:
“Our studies are showing that the computer allows people to say things they wouldn’t have otherwise said. We really saw the difference in reporting difficulties with sexual function and social support. It can be hard to be honest when your spouse is right next to you looking over your shoulder at the clipboard, but electronically, you provide the answer and it disappears.” (June Spence, “Computers Make it Personal,” Connect, Duke Health)