Carrying patients’ records in their pockets

Putting patients’ information in a doctor’s labcoat without any paper — there’s an app for that.

And a new local company is helping to change the way doctors make their rounds at the Ottawa Hospital — one iPad at a time.

“It’s a Canadian first,” said Adam McNamara, co-founder of Select Start Studios.

“Large healthcare organizations in Canada haven’t been able to do it.”

McNamara and his partners Joshua Tessir and Tariq Zaid — who are all locals and Carleton grads — recently developed the software exclusively for Ottawa Hospital, letting doctors and nurses view patient records and lab results using mobile technology.

“So when they’re interacting with patients, they’ve got access to all their medical records,” McNamara said.

And it’s “completely changing the way clinicians interact with patients’ families, because they can all sit on the couch and talk,” said Carl Maisonneuve, the project’s chief architect.

Shifting from the clipboard to the tablet will save time and resources, McNamara adds.

“The doctors and nurses don’t have to continue printing out all the lab reports and test results.”

A pilot project using the technology on 100 iPads is underway and the goal is to have 1,500 to 2,000 on hand by the end of March 2011.

Select Start has been commissioned to develop an iPhone version so doctors can access patient information off-site.

Nurses will be the primary users of the iPad technology, which currently offers a read-only view. And there are plans to take this software to the next level and include a picture archiving and communication system, which will let them view X-rays and MRIs directly from the device, said Zaid.

He said that will be a huge undertaking and could transform the relationship between mobile technology and the health care industry.

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